While visiting Montana, I ran across a church sign that said this: “Congress is full of crooks because our pulpits are full of cowards.”
My immediate reaction was to, as the kids say, LMFAO. And then I said, “Amen!”
I got to visit with the elders of that church, and they explained that this particular message had not been terribly well-received by the pastors of the other, local churches. A few of these pastors were worried that the sign had been made with them in mind, specifically. My reaction to that was, well if the shoe fits, buddy.
American Christians have been taught since the middle of the 19th Century, with the rise of Dispensationalism, that the church founded by the Lord Jesus can count on increasing defeat around the world in time and history. This expectation of the progressive worsening of all things caused the bulk of them to withdraw from “secular” pursuits like political involvement.
Recent, popular Bible teachers have said things like, “You don’t polish brass on a sinking ship!” And, “All you’re doing is making a better world for people to go to hell from!”
The thinking is that things are so bad, the return of Jesus and the Rapture of the church must be just around the corner. (This corner has proven to be like those haunted house hallways in the scary movies, which keep getting longer and longer.) So why focus on stuff that’s about to burn, like society, or art, or literature, or politics, or schools? All we’ve got time for is the preaching of the gospel of individual salvation. Frankly, there’s not even time for that, at least not to do it well (apparently) so American evangelicals have truncated the gospel itself down until it’s nothing more than a short sales pitch aimed at getting folks to half-heartedly say a repeat-after-me prayer that they can then think of as their eternal Get Out of Jail Free card thereafter.
Politics is dirty, dirty business. Thus, I’m told, good, clean Christians ought to stay out of it. But maybe the reason it’s dirty business, and full of every kind of corruption, is because those who are meant to be salt and light in the world have voluntarily left the field?
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