Last night I had an incredible conversation and Bible study
with a bunch of young 20-somethings that are impacting their generation and culture for Christ. We were talking about the
stoning of Stephen and how that amazing story is a direct contrast to what Christianity
has become in America today.
These were not young people that
ran from church or looked to rebel from denominationalism. They were not
spiritual exiles quietly living out the weak conclusions in Barna’s
“Revolution”. These were committed young
followers of Christ that were sick of the ease with which Christianity in the United States has become.They have grown tired of the glitzy lure of attractional techno-palaces
and disillusioned with the hollow promises of missional wannabes. They are fed up with the latest emergent
book-tour guru and the soft-spoken mega-church Mister Rogers. They want Christ-like reality. They want difficult discipleship. They want the cost of following. They want cause. They want action. They want…the lions back.
we have multi-million dollar churches on every street corner. In other countries small groups of Christians
meet secretly in basements. In America
we can have an endless choice of Starbuck flavors before the worship
service. In other countries Christians
forage for food because the government has taken away everything they own. In America
we have church campus parking attendants and courtesy trams. In other countries people walk for days just
to hear the Word of God spoken. In America
we can purchase a Bible in any WalMart. In other countries entire sections of Scripture are memorized because
Bibles are confiscated. In America
we take offering to purchase two-story video screens. In other countries an offering is taken to
support the family whose Christian father or husband is residing in a "re-education"
camp. In America
pastors gather together for multi-media pep rallies and conference
freebies. In other countries pastors
gather together on the cold floor of a jail cell to pray for one another and
nurse each other’s torture-induced wounds. In America
the church has been replaced with easy-to-access, consumer-driven rock shows. In other countries the lions have been
replaced with firing squads, public hangings, community stonings and gruesome beheadings.
American Christianity in the 21st century is no
longer something to fight for, give blood for or lose life for. It is an advertising tag line for the
politician. It is an easy bankroll for
the airwave “prophet”. It is a cheesy
subculture for the religiously fat. It
is a spiritual juke-joint for the communal needy. There is no cost. There is no danger. There is no cause. There is no commitment. Christianity in the U.S.
has become a feeble, jelly-like mass lying on the sands of culture jiggling
back and forth whispering, “Notice me…notice me."
The heart of a 20-year-old Christian is different than the
heart of a 41-year-old pastor. They do
not believe that we need another church plant in suburban America. They do not believe that we need another addiction-defined
therapy group. They do not believe we
need another pop-culture infused worship service. They believe that we need persecution. They believe that we need incarceration. They believe we need hardship. They believe we need a public coliseum. They believe
we need the lions back.
I’m afraid they may be right…