The temptation of power

Years ago Richard Foster wrote a book on the great temptations of our culture. They haven’t really changed.

Money. Sex. Power. They draw us in. They are at the root of so much that dominates our political landscape. And the Church somehow gets caught up in this game.

Let me demonstrate the idea of “power” and “money” in this statement:

The “pro-gun” lobby and the “Planned Parenthood” lobby are two sides of the same coin.

That really sets people off. Both sides won’t see the legitimacy of the other side. Both sides will scream their righteous indignation, NEVER claiming to be alike in any way.

But here is what happens in our current political climate:

“The Democrats are taking away our guns!”

“The religious right is trying to tell a woman what to do with her body!”

When those two lines are screamed, you know what happens? Gun sales go up in the first scenario, and donations to Planned Parenthood skyrocket in the second. Guaranteed.

No room for compromise. No room for discussion. It’s simply going to be a stream of insults and then money comes out… It’s ridiculously predictable.

And in the middle of this we have a “voting block” the media keeps insisting on called “evangelicals.” And that group still thinks they have a lot of sway. They certainly try a lot of guilt!

“If all the evangelicals had got out and voted like they were SUPPOSED TO… Candidate X would have WON!”

So, in our current cultural upheaval we have an American slice of Christianity still trying to hold on to …. power. 

And fear is the driver. Just like “gun control” and “women’s rights,” the key words here are: “religious freedoms.”

Here IS the thing: We have been afforded, as Christians, tremendous religious freedoms over the years. It is true.

My contention has been that in a secular society when you have “religious rights” and that culture’s definition of “human rights” clash… “religious rights” will start to slide away.

We ARE seeing that. There are swipes at what constitutes a “religious organization” when it comes to healthcare law. There are bills that arise from time to time challenging property tax exemption for religious organizations. There is a bill in the California legislature right now challenging funding for religious based colleges.

Here is what we are struggling with: the power. We have had it so good for so long and now that influence and prestige is waning.

And this group wants the same thing as Trump supporters in general and Sanders supporters in general: protection. 

Trump promises protection from the big bad immigrants and terrorists. Sanders promises protection from the big bad corporations.

And yesterday, hundreds of evangelicals made pilgrimage to NYC (Trump ain’t coming to you, baby!) to hear Trump promise one thing: PROTECTION. 

All of these things demonstrate the pull of those big three “strongholds” in our culture: money, sex, or power. Some evangelical groups are still clawing for one last fingernail hold in “power.” And it is looking ridiculous. Honestly.

What we need desperately in the American Church is new thinking. Fresh thinking. Kingdom thinking. The kingdoms of this world pale in comparison to the Kingdom of our God. Yet, we are clawing for power in this realm.

Rights will be challenged. It is just the environment we are in. We can challenge in court. We can challenge in political races. But those rights will keep slipping away.

It is NOT whining on my part. I believe this will give the church the opportunity it needs to BE THE CHURCH.

Quit courting political power! Hillary, Bernie, and Donald do not hold your answers! You CAN live in a society that grows increasingly hostile to Christian belief. Millions of Christians do it every day!

Let us quit the silliness of chasing this system’s power and let us BE THE CHURCH in a fresh new way!


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