Re-educating America

This is a follow-up post to the previous one. Someone get me some butter, because I am on a roll! lol (groan)

I just got to thinking about how incredibly successful Satan has been in seducing us. Basically he has accomplished an almost complete re-education of America. Think about it:

  • Those opposed to abortion are now viewed as cruel, oppressive to women’s rights, mean, radical and right-wing nut-jobs instead of people committed to the noble pursuit of protecting unborn life.
  • Anyone speaking an alternative voice about same-sex marriages and the homosexual lifestyle is now considered racist, hate-filled,  intolerant, ignorant, and bigoted instead of someone who values and seeks to uphold the traditional view of marriage.
  • If you speak out against pre-marital or even extra-marital sex you are viewed as prudish, old-fashioned, oppressive, and disconnected to reality instead of a person voicing concern over all of the many hurtful consequences of such life-style choices and offering a more meaningful and fulfilling alternative.
  • If you are a believer in the Christian God and his Bible you are seen as an unlearned, intolerant, out-of-touch, back-woods hick instead of someone who has made a thorough, life-changing, informed choice to believe in a God of love.

I am reminded of what God said through Isaiah (5:20):

Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.

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15 Responses to Re-educating America

  1. Frank says:

    Danny, I wonder if a good bit of disintegration, an American exile, will have to happen before the pendulum begins to swing back. Either way, I think it’s important for Christians to not play into the stereotypes that make it easy to dismiss a socially-conservative Christian voice.

  2. dannydodd says:

    Cetainly we do hurt ourselves sometimes, Frank, by reinforcing the sterotypes of angry, bitter people always opposing something.

    But even at our best and most compassionate we have an uphill battle on our hands.

  3. Donna says:

    I had this discussion over lunch yesterday. It is time for us to stand up and be different…even if it means persecution.

  4. lesjr says:

    And yet so many Christians think it nothing to vote for those who support such things…

  5. Royce says:

    It’s change you can believe in!

  6. SteveLavin says:

    So have we reduced Christianity to a mere religion instead of a lifestyle? If so, what does this say about us? And perhaps more importantly, how do we turn it around?

  7. Darren says:

    What would happen if we as Christians did a better job of following the commands and examples of Jesus?

    Lets be honest, what did Jesus ever say about abortion, homosexuals and stem cell research? Not one thing! In many conservative Christian circles these issues reign supreme but yet Jesus is silent on all of this.

    Jesus did tell us to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us (we like to whine about it when it happens). Jesus says not to divorce but the divorce rate among evangelical Christians is as high if not higher than those not in the church. And when it comes to materialism (which Jesus says much about) we are just as ic and materialistic (Ron Sider) as those not in the church.

    Let us what Jesus s and love the things Jesus loves. Difficult? You bet! Where will it lead us? The cross, because that is what happened to our Lord.

    Perhaps it is Christians that need re-education. Hmmm

  8. xybatt says:

    Some of Darrell’s is brutal truth. We ARE so materialistic in the US. We spend far more on the building and decor than on the hungry or homeless. We are (rightly)appalled by abortion and homosexuality but the majority of our unmarried are sexually active. And how about cheating on taxes or staeling from constituents (think Enron).

  9. ben overby says:

    Danny, the churches of Christ have notoriously developed a handful of badges of “the faith,” practices or beliefs that supposedly seperate the goats from the sheep: non-instrumental, name, leadership model, plan of salvation, worship format.

    More broadly evangelicals and/or Americanized Christianity have developed a handful of badges whereby one’s righteousness is measured, not the least of which are anti-abortion, anti-homosexual, anti-premarital sex, and God language (10 commandments in public square, “under God” in the pledge of allegiance, in God we trust, etc).

    In both instances issues have become politicized and used to maintain a social identity as much as anything else. That is to say, too many times this is about pride of place or status within the society. In both instances the utter hypocrisy of many within the groups is so astounding as to threaten the existence of both (at best) and question the authority of the voice.

    Case in point. My son attended a worship service a few weeks before the election. The preacher insisted the two great issues confronting our nation are homosexuality and abortion. He insisted that good Christians will vote on that basis. A young lady I work with told me she was voting for McCain because her preacher had taught that a vote for Obama was a sin worthy of hell. In both these situations nothing was said about other social problems in our nation–poverty in the face of materialism and wasteful consumerism, a pro-war, America first attitude, economic and social oppression experienced by certain segments of the society, etc. Jesus had lots to say about materialism, vengence, pride, oppression, and all the rest, but the Americanized Christian is faithful if he is vocal in his opposition to homosexuality and abortion? That’s the way it looks.

    Until we are consistent in our message about what it looks like to be a born-again, or saved human, we’ll look like the same old wreckage with a bone to pick. If we can love the oppressed, living human half as much as we love the unborn child; if we can care for the poor with the same zeal we send our children off to a so-called just war; if we can say something about sexuality and marriage that doesn’t sound like a brainless plagerism of the republican agenda, and if our churches–the people, the symbols (buildings, etc.) the stories told, the traditions upheld, can look a little more like Jesus and little less like powder rooms full of the materialistically wealthy and spiritually impoverished, then perhaps we’ll earn the right to be persecuted. Until then, any so-called persecution will be like so much of the rest of the Americanized church . . . a mere parody of the real thing.

    Next time I’ll tell you how I really feel. : )

    ben o

  10. Darren says:

    Ben,
    You have my vote!
    AMEN brother

  11. Scottie says:

    hey Danny et all,

    I have thought about whether I should respond to this or not, and I decided to open my big mouth for better or worse because these are issues that I wrestle with and I thought I would throw my two (okay maybe a dime today) cents in..before I do, I want to say that I offer these comments with deep humility and thougtfulness. I am not 100% convinced of all of my positions here..I also hope that God can forgive if I am promoting the wrong ideals…I am trying, but I have had high respect for Danny becasuse he listens to honest thoughtful ideas…these are offered in that tone.

    I think the overarching theme of this is the hyperbole used by the fringes of trhe media, the so-called Christian “right” (Robertson, Falwell, Dobson, etc.) the far left (Frankken, Maher, etc.) and the far right (Hannity, Boortz, etc.) These people do not represent the majority of America, society or Christendom. They are the loud mouths that seek to stir up controversy and promote their own agendas/ideals as if they were the masses. The more we give these voices (on all sides) credit, the tougher it will be to have rational, caring and thoughtful dialogue with those that differ. God is not a member of any politcal party and we need to remember that. People have the right to vote based on what is important to them, but you cannot find any political movement that is aligned with all of God’s principles, so we need to get past that. People think that being loud and forceful equates to being devout and steadfast in ones belief regardless of whether they believe or not. I submit that being assured, caring and sincerely concerned is what shows someone to be a true believer or whatever point of view they espouse.

    I’ll be honest, I think too many men talk about abortion. I think we are far too ignorant as a sex to truly understand all of the issues with this topic. That is not to say we cannot be involved in the discussion, but women have a much better ability to lead in this dialogue. My wife is against abortion in cases–yet to blow up a clinic would be just as evil in her mind–yet we do not denounce those with the same vigor. I, on the other hand, would have extreme difficulty in sacrificing my wife in the case where a pregnancy would lilkely end in the death of the baby and the mother. I have to admit, I could not bring myself to let my wife die. Rape and incest are other really difficult issues for me in this discussion–just being honest. I think it is much harder than we give it credit for.

    Same sex unions or marriages being recognized are another issue that I wrestle with. I think it is disingneious to suggest that some are trying tro “protect” marriage. If that were the case, they would have also submitted legislation to not recognize those that divorce and re-marriage for reasons other than the breaking of the marital covenant. How are those marriages any different that same sex unions in the site of God? I fear that the truth is that we want to treat homosexuals as different citizens and deny them access to healthcare, property rights and other benefits afforded to couples engaged in that sort of relationship. If people are going to bring God into this discussion, then they should be talking about all marriages that God doesn’t recognize–shouldn’t they? Frankly, i don’t care what the state recognizes in this context as long as we can worship God freely, then we have to let others enjoy the same reasonable freedoms…my cousin is gay. I love him. While I expressed my concern for him, I would hate to think that he and his committed partner could not enjoy basic benefits afforded to me by health insurance companies, succession of estate rights, etc. Within the context of these issues, what does the fact that God doesn’t condone homosexuality have to do with these benefits? If so, you would have to say that folks who divorce and remarry for the heck of it, or they are tired of it, or they committed adultry, would not be allowed to be remarried either…the hypocrisy of this position is disturbing to me. The state doesn’t define marriage, God does…the state doesn’t define decent and moral behavior, God does…for me, I pray for my cousin and other close friends that are gay that God will have merrcy for them and teach me to love them more perfectly so that they can see God…

    these other issues are not new…people who have believed in a “Christian” moral code have always been looked down as unintelligent, or weakminded…this has been the case forever…the voices are louder, but they have always been there…i hope I can be sincere in my prayer is to live in such a way that at least I can have a relationship and live at peace with men…

    Sorry if I offended anyone, not my intent…just was heavy on my heart…

    scottie

  12. Scottie says:

    ps..i would not normally teach this in public where it could stir up controversy…i think that would be part of the problem…so if any elders of my congregation read this, just know that this is my thoughts alone–
    thanks
    scottie

  13. dannydodd says:

    Hey Scottie- seems like a long time- nice hearing from you. Never hesitate jumping into the fray. That is what blogging is all about. It is a running dialog and sharing of ideas and thoughts- a sort of thinking out loud.

    I understand what you are saying and agree with you (and others who made the point) that we must approach everyone and all issues from a true Christ-center. Often we have failed to do this and allowed “issues” to define and drive us.

    I do have a concern as someone who proclaims God’s word that eventually it will be come a “hate crime” for me even to just read biblical texts mentioning homosexuality. As with other issues current in culture- there seems not to be much mutual tolerance here.

  14. scottie says:

    hey Danny,

    yeah, I can understand that concern…i think it is a tough thing…we want the freedom to speak our beliefs and we have to toloerate the fact that people can attack those beliefs as they proclaim there own. the day we cannot proclaim our beliefs is the day we are not free here anymore..

    i hope that if we proclaim with love that day will never come…

    See you soon brother
    scottie

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