“Breaking News” shows American Christianity’s true “Kingdom” culture

culture wars2Like many of you I was saddened to hear of the tragic suicide of Pastor Rick Warren’s 27 year old son Matthew.  My heart as a father broke for the Warrens and I have every confidence and hope in their reuniting again in the Father’s Kingdom.

However…

The initial news link I followed off Facebook was to the  Charisma News web site. A website with news geared to the Evangelical American Christian community. Scanning the headlines I was able to glean the  obvious focus of the website and can see why American Christianity is so totally off joint to anything Jesus taught his disciples.

The “Breaking News” box blared these four headlines:

Really???  This is the “Christian” version of “Breaking News”?

An abortion clinic reopens...after four years…in Kansas?

The French debate gay marriage?  Americans never seem to be interested in anything the French do…but they talk gay marriage and we’re suddenly interested?

Bill Clinton gets an award from the gay community?  The “Big Dog” has been out of office for 13 years but probably still gets an award from a different interest group every week.  Next month he’ll probably get an award from some guy with Spock ears at a Star Trek convention…will that also be “breaking news”?

Strict Gun Laws signed by Governor of Connecticut: What has this got to do with anything related to Christianity?

Ah, but there is a pattern developing here isn’t there?

Abortion, homosexuality, and gun control… the American Christianity “anti-Christ” triumvirate.

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“Christian” media, it would seem,  is no different than “secular” media.  Both need to make money and nothing sells better than people’s fear.  Let’s keep the church paranoid,  the End Times just around the corner (as always), and the Philistines (in the form of gun banning gay abortionists) at the city gate.

What Would Jesus Do?

If there was an internet news source in Jerusalem 2000 years ago, what would the “breaking news” items for the religious community be I wonder?

  • Romans crucify 12 zealots in Jewish nationalist crackdown
  • Roman Senate to debate gladiatorial games
  • Pontius Pilate receives award from Priests at the Temple of Diana
  • King Herod to sign restrictive “sword control” law

These were the religious “culture wars” of the day.  The people of Jerusalem hailed Jesus because they thought he would lead them in victory to replace the present culture with their ideal.

But Jesus had no interest in their “culture wars”.  He had no interest in using the systems of this world to bring about change.  Kingdoms established by sword or gun eventually crumble when the other guys get more swords and guns.

Instead Jesus came announcing the Kingdom of Heaven and inviting all who heard the opportunity to become citizens.  This Kingdom did not fight “culture wars”.  In fact, it did not fight at all.  It would not be founded on the systems of power, coercion, and antagonism common to every other Kingdom or nation that had ever been established  but instead on love, forgiveness, and mercy.

And the cornerstone of that new Kingdom would be Jesus Christ himself; the Prince of Peace.

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Jesus shows how this plays out when he was arrested in Gethsemane:

Then they came and laid hands on Jesus and took Him. And suddenly, one of those who were with Jesus stretched out his hand and drew his sword, struck the servant of the high priest, and cut off his ear.

But Jesus said to him, “Put your sword in its place, for all who take the sword will perishby the sword. Or do you think that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He will provide Me with more than twelve legions of angels? How then could the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must happen thus?”

Matthew 26: 51-54

Peter, although having been taught by Jesus personally for 3 years, reacts in that moment when power is displayed against them…with a return show of power!

Jesus rebukes him!  Does he still not understand that those who establish by power will eventually be overcome by power?

Jesus then explains that he has more than enough “power”.  If he wants to establish his Kingdom “by the sword” than he has 12 legions of angels standing by to slay his enemies and install him as the new King…

… but how then will an eternal Kingdom that is rooted in peace and welcomes all nations to join it be established?

American Christians need to figure out what Kingdom they want.  If I had to base it on their “breaking news” feed I’d say they have the wrong cornerstone in place.

 

4 comments

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  • Food for thought and I like what you have to say. So often our focus is in the wrong direction. We keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, the Author and Perfector of our Faith.

  • Connie

    Reply

    I agree. Nothing sells better than fear. That’s why the concept of hell and focusing on it often is so useful for controlling people. Also agree that American Christianity is pretty off joint when it comes to Jesus.

  • You raise some excellent points in the article. I have a suggestion, though. Given that the lede is about Matthew Warren’s tragic suicide, the headline seems to imply something like, “See? Matthew Warren killed himself, so that proves that Christianity is all messed up.” After reading that, I couldn’t believe that was what you meant, so clicked through to read the article to find out. Indeed, after reading it, it was clear that that’s not what you’re saying at all, but from what I was able to see from the Google+ summary of your article plus the headline, the impression was pretty strong.

  • Steve

    Reply

    Hi Scott,

    Yes, I can see if a social media site just put the headline with the lead in blurb, than the suicide may be misinterpreted as the reason for the title.

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