A Genuine Faith

Rodney Reeves writes on his blog about the “loss by cross” example set by Paul, and how that example is not compatible with American culture. You should read the whole thing, but here’s the kicker:

“Thinking like an American comes naturally to those of us who live in these United States. Thinking like a follower of Christ is far more challenging. In fact, American ideals often trump our Christian convictions, especially when it comes to living the crucified life. How are we supposed to love our enemies when we’ve been taught to kill them? How can I follow Christ, giving up my rights like he did, when I’ve been trained to protect my rights no matter what? Why does loyalty to America take precedent over loyalty to Christ, that pledging allegiance to a flag is nobler than swearing allegiance to a cross? To what extent is our American citizenship more important than our Christian identity? How many Christians act as if patriotism is just as important as the gospel—or even worse, an expression of the gospel?

In several ways, the American way of life is at cross purposes with the crucified life; American politics cannot contain Christian faith. For example, politics makes enemies; Christians love enemies. Americans are taught to preserve national and personal interests at all costs. Paul taught his converts to prefer the interests of others. American consumerism is built on the idea that we should always want more. Paul was content with more or less. In light of these stark contrasts, one cannot help but wonder: if we were to live the crucified life like Paul—losing our identity in Christ—would our neighbors be compelled to accuse us of foolishness for forsaking the American way of life?”

(h/t Jeffrey Overstreet)

2 thoughts on “A Genuine Faith

  1. such a haunting reality of faith… how easily influenced we are by our culture’s “American Dream” Christianity instead of the radical Christianity that the bible teaches. I like how Shane Claibourne says it: “Some folks may be really bummed to find that “God bless America” does not appear in the Bible. So often we do things that make sense to us and ask God to bless our actions and come alongside our plans, rather than looking at the things God promises to bless and acting alongside of them. For we know that God’s blessing will inevitably follow if we are with the poor, the merciful, the hungry, the persecuted, the peacemakers. But sometimes we’d rather have a God who conforms to our logic than conform our logic to the God whose wisdom is a stumbling block to the world of smart bombs and military intelligence.”

  2. This is why I get so frustrated by the messages of people like Joel Osteen, who pretty much insists that smiling will make things better and that God wants everyone to be “successful.” Any Gospel message that doesn’t demand repentance, sacrifice, and humility is not the Gospel at all.

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