Wednesday, September 17, 2008

God in The Raw

I have always been told not to use disclaimers when presenting your opinion and ideas. For the most part that is sound advice. In this situation I think a disclaimer is important, otherwise the views expressed might be confused for something they are not. So here goes the disclaimer, I am deeply thankful to have grown up and live in the United States. There have been and will be opportunities afforded to me that no other country in the world would make room for. I treasure the fact that I do not face governmental backlash for what I am about to discuss. All in all, if one must be a citizen of a country, I think the United States is the best choice.

Now that is out of the way, I want to look at the relationship between the American dream, or American way of life, compared with Christ and the movement he established. Many are the claims about this being a Christian nation, founded on Christian principles and by Christian people. It is not for this time to debate such claims, let's just say I am suspect of those claims. Anyway, what has evolved from those claims is a country where the socio-political scene has been linked to the religious scene. I wonder if in the that linking we have conformed the Gospel to match our ideals and beliefs about life more than we have shifted our ideals toward the Gospel. I am not the first, nor the last, to ponder such things. As long as there have been political structures there has been a delicate connection between politics and religion.,to me that is the problem.

Each of us functions with a set of lenses through which we view life. Our American lenses bring with them some strong helpings of individualism, consumerism, racism and several other "ism"s. The lenses change the way we see the movement of Jesus Christ interacting with our world. In reality we often engage the world around us from the wrong starting point. We start with the ways in which we perceive the world, and then try to shoehorn the message of Jesus to fit. What would happen if we started with Jesus. Now I am not advocating for forgetting about our context, I am not advocating for us to slip back to the too simplistic question of WWJD. I am saying if we are a "Christian Nation" why is there more American value in our religion than God value?

What would happen if we threw away religion, and got back to God in the raw? If we began to tie our lives and hearts to the teachings and life of Christ above all else? What would happen if we began to live lives as an extension of our Abiding with God? The biggest change could be seen in what we are no longer doing, than in what we will begin to do. One more disclaimer, I understand the challenge of defining God in the raw, not because it is elusive. Rather, because we have a hard time peeling away the layers and lenses which cloud our ability to see God.

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