Last post I talked about how The World, The Flesh, and The Devil have always been the pulls against true Christianity, and how just because the World used to mask itself more flatteringly, doesn’t mean it was an ally in truth.
But there are ways in which the culture of the post-Christian West is making it increasingly difficult to grow a mature Christian faith.
- Permanent Adolescence/The Worship of Youth (Selfishness)
- Creeping Spirituality/Non-Christian beliefs
The Worship of Youth comes in as many forms as a centipede has legs, but at its core there is a concentration on the good things that come with the stage of life when most of us are running about finding mates and figuring out what we’re going to do with our lives. That potential is something that the modern doesn’t want to let go of, even well after that stage of life has ended. The value in maturing, having confidence in one’s skills, being slower to speak …. they’re completely devalued, at least until retirement age. This weakens the Christian, because it concentrates us 1) on the World and the Flesh *very* effectively and 2) reduces the number of mature people (much less mature, committed Christians) to have as pillars of our communities and examples of life well lived. On the contrary, our examples are those who have held onto youth with teeth and toenails. This worship has seriously weakened our families and marriages.
Creeping Spirituality is another way in which our culture has made it more difficult to grow mature Christians. The doctrine of Hell has disappeared, having been replaced by a vague “catch you next life” belief in reincarnation. Absolutes have been erased, and “all roads lead to Heaven” is the core belief of most folks – if they think about it at all, which is something that is no longer socially acceptable (see worship-of-youth). If the vaguely new-age spiritualities aren’t embraced, some sense that all of the monothestic gods are the same god has been, and “whatever works for you” is the mantra of the hour. All of this makes it very difficult to structure your life with the understanding both that you only get one life, and that your existence doesn’t end with your last breath, that there are consequences for your actions. Consequences and judgement, the very concept of eternal justice, they’ve all fallen victim to Creeping Spirituality.
An enemy that faces you square on is an enemy that makes you stronger. It might be an enemy that makes the less-committed of your force run and hide or change sides, but those who stay will gird themselves, make themselves stronger, and become better warriors.
An enemy that pretends to be a friend, an enemy that pretends to be harmless, that’s the enemy that will stick a knife in your back or poison in your soup when your defenses are down. There’s a reason that history has chosen to treat traitors and moles with heavier sentences (and greater contempt) than captured enemies.
The enemy that pretends to be harmless until the moment the knife is bared is far more dangerous in the long run, and this is the enemy we have been fighting for the last fifty years. As we now see the blade, we’re running in circles and screeching because so many of our fellow warriors have been weakened by the poison that they’ve been filling the wells with. But now, now we can see the blade, and now we can gird ourselves more effectively. There are benefits, if we’ll look to them – consider also that some of “our team” will defect, but remember… if they’re ready to defect, they weren’t of God *anyway*.
The times are changing, and those who called themselves our friends are showing their true faces. We mourn, and rightly so – but I say that we should also rejoice, because our choices are clearer now than they have been for many a year.