I was having a conversation the other night with a Honduras mission trip alum at Perspectives and he was asking a very good question. The teacher that night was Bobby Gupta and he was kind of giving us a Christian pep talk. He was telling us how Evangelical Christianity is growing faster than any other religion and how many churches had been planted and how many people were coming to believe the gospel. These are very good things to know, it's nice to know that the movement you belong to is vibrant and growing, but my friend was asking the question "why don't we make a difference?" Dr. Gupta was kind of addressing this question, but not really and my friend really wanted to know where the meat was. Pep talks are good I said, but it's like a battle. We can get the soldiers really fired up and encouraged, but if you don't give them weapons, they're gonna lose the battle.
Then it hit me. In one of my great moments of bullcraptitude I conjured a truly profound thought. I said "We live in a culture where everyone is either spiritual but not religious or religious but not spiritual." The difference is one of those groups will readily admit it, the other one wont.
Let us explore. On one hand are the religious, the typical white Anglo Saxon protestant Christian conservative republican. On the other hand you have the typically non-religious educated yuppie liberal who still believes in some form of spirituality whether it be an eastern philosophy or Crossing Over with John Edward. Yes I know there are other hands here, but keep with me.
Why are the Christians not making a difference in this country? A recent event speaks to this, at least in my mind. A few days ago, thousands of people lined up at various ponds and lakes and threw tea bags in the water. They were protesting taxes, all good and fine, but so many of them had signs protesting taxes in God's name. I believe the when Jesus was asked about whether or not to pay taxes, he said "Give to Caesar that which is Caesar's." He didn't say "F*** Caesar, don't give that m0~#&* f@(&#$ a g@& d@!* thing!"
Why aren't we fighting poverty? Why aren't we caring for unwed mothers? Why aren't we feeding the hungry? These are all things that Jesus explicitly wanted us to do, he never said anything about fighting taxes. Forget the blessed money; if Jesus wants you to have money, there isn't a tax on earth that can take it away from you. These are the things this country needs. In other countries they need clean water to drink before you can tell them about the gospel, they need food in their bellies before they can listen to stories about Jesus. In this country, we have food, we have water, what people need is for someone to care about them, to care for them, to love them.
That's why American Christians don't make a difference, because the only difference between them and the guy in the car next to them in traffic is that they go to church on Sunday or Saturday or they have a fish with no legs on the back of the car. The reason why American Christians don't make a difference is because there is no difference. There just is no difference.
I'm not trying to float my own boat, but those of you who know me, you know, there is a difference and it's not the difference you'd expect. There is a difference because I choose to be more like them than I do you. And believe me, I know, you don't take all that kindly to it, and I am willing to bear that burden. But I will live what I believe, because I'm not religious in that I'm not a republican, but I am spiritual because I am a Jesus Freak. Christianity is not a religion, you don't just do and believe stuff and are a Christian, signing a piece of paper doesn't make it so and answering an alter call has no effect.
You meet Jesus. And when you meet Jesus you are a Christian. You have to meet Jesus.