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Monday, February 3, 2014

Dear Friends

February 3, 2014

RE:          Entry 1

I am always struck by the extent to which we all go to avoid taking any responsibility for the world around us.  Each passing generation harkens back to the older, better, more fundamental times, when “life was simpler”.  To a large extent, this is true.  I’ve done it myself, but am often then disconnected from my responsibility when I have to explain how it happened that life is now so different.  Was it me, was it my fault?  I think so.  Perhaps not in the direct fashion that allows most of us to point to a cause, but indirectly, more subtly so, but responsible nonetheless.

For so long in America, Christians, regardless of denominations, have been confusing their status of majority with the fulfillment of the great commission.  Because of the unique set of circumstances in the creation, development and growth of America, to which the attributes of Christian and Western Culture heavily contributed, all of us have come to consider the success of the Christian Church in the United States (with all its positive attributes for worldwide missions) as divine ordinance instead of divine commandment.  In other words, did the country make Christianity stronger or was it the reverse?  Most of us have come to believe that being born Americans gives us some special place in the Kingdom, and now that we’re literally watching the church (small c) fall apart, transform, before our eyes, it’s very difficult to reconcile those two things.  We tend to stand off and observe, almost like a man watching his own autopsy, thinking “what a mess” as if he himself had nothing to do in the creation of that mess.

I hear in the church the melding of political arguments for a spiritual purpose, with the hope that if only we could elect the right leaders, the spiritual purpose will be fulfilled.  I see in Christians the desire to identify with social media or news outlets as being more righteous than others with the wish that if only something would be reported correctly then the message would be clearer (Fox News, I’m sorry, I watch you, but you don’t fool me as much as cater to my way of thinking to profit from it).  I find that the church congregation itself is become much more insular, more club-like, more inclusive of acceptable, exclusive of unacceptable, always defining and dividing the former from the latter.  Church members pick churches, research, find positive and avoid negative attributes, generally more or less like we shop for everything else in this country.  Information, if only we had more of it, in the right hands, with the right tone, would convince the masses.  To that end, the church itself has become a stand-in for being a Christian.  A surrogate of sorts.  And it seems everyone wants a surrogate, a buffer, to keep them from the messy work of spreading the Gospel.  It is much easier to subcontract that to someone else, pastors, and the like.  In all these things the church has become an example of one of the fundamental principles of thermodynamics (in paraphrase, too hot and too cold become lukewarm—John had it right all along!).

How many times has someone written what I’m writing?  I’ve read variations of it written throughout the centuries.  The only thing that makes it different today, is that instead of some prophet (accepted or otherwise) telling us where we are headed, we are now faced with the stark realization that we are either already there or fast approaching it.  And our response to this realization:  "Organize the government".  "Organize the church".  "Start a campaign". (Start a blog!) .  Pass out fliers.  “Rebuild Christian America”.  All of us who demand such action are the ones that let it happen, helped it happen, probably are clueless as to why it happened, but we think we know if we just talk it to death it will result in Restoration,and more importantly, fulfillment of the order we were all given in the beginning. I don’t really believe that.

So, faced with my own personal acknowledgement of having a hand in the failure, I ask myself:  What now?  Indeed.  I’m at a bit of a loss.  I want to, for me, at least, explore everything I do and see in light of having one focus of contributing.  To bring clarity to myself in how I view the world with the purpose of being a rebuilder and not just a talker.

I remain,

Fessler