Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Each day, my email inbox fills with messages of conspiracy, worries of persecution, legal rights abridgments, last days mania, and so on. What troubles me most is that I don’t ever get these messages from unbelievers but only from the Body of Christ.I have to agree with his assessment there, even push it a bit deeper. Yes, we fear H1N1 and we fear persecution, and all that other stuff, but the are the leading edge of a deeper fear - we fear failure.
If I were a visitor from another planet come to investigate the blue planet Earth, my assessment of American Christians would be that they are the most frightened people on the planet and that large chunks of their day are spent worrying about one threat after another.
What about the fear that if we preach the whole gospel people will not come to church? What about the fear that prevents us from talking to our neighbor, obviously in need? What about the fears that get in the way of God doing His will in us and the world?
Fear is the easiest motivator for us to manipulate. Particularly in America we live in a world where our basic needs are cared for - without genuine worry about our next meal or shelter. And yet, we are primed, by our sinful nature, for struggle, and so we create it. And far be it from the church to avoid that trend. "If fear will keep them in the pews and puttin' in the plate, then far be it from me to teach them victory."
In his post, Dan has a long citation of scripture about how Christ removes our fear. They are great - why aren't they preached? I have a theory - a congregation of people truly fearless in faith would be darn hard to manage. They'd all be going off half-cocked to pursue some ministry that might or might not fit in "our vision." Lord help us all if one of them came along and taught a Sunday School class and proved to be a better preacher than, well, the preacher. Why, it would be chaos.
But then again, maybe it should be? After there is no chaos from God's perspective, only ours.