Among other things the pandemic has revealed the deconstructed shallow nature of American Christianity. Many American Christian’s have for years been treating our faith as an activity or social construct we can in our consumer culture change at will. Deep faith, a faith of faith first and sight after has been discarded in favor of lite Christianity in which God is ignored or marginalized, a genie we can summon in adversity. The alternatives are many, you can go straight to Atheism, or you can shop the isles of mix and match spirituality, outlined by our cultural moral relativism, what ever you choose is your truth. And above all else do not dare say I am wrong in my beliefs!
Spiritual capitalism is fed by more products and experiences to sell to consumers looking for meaning outside of traditional religious institutions. But far from being anything new or different this is just fast-food spirituality which has been around for a very long time. To be countercultural we must as Christian’s be consistent in our established faith traditions, doing everything we can to make them better even when we are unhappy.
“It is not for us to stop believing because we lack understanding, or to postpone believing till we can get understanding, but to believe in order that we may understand; as Augustine said, “unless you believe, you will not understand.” J.L Packer
Our fallen world of sinners has been down this road before, and it has always and will always result in God’s wrath and justice. The Flood, Babel, and there have been Angelic rebellions as well. Christ became our mediator in the Garden after the Fall and continued to mediate first for Israel and then all humanity and he at this very moment still intercedes and mediates on our behalf at the right hand of God the Father.
Our personal pride and sin have always chosen to be separate from God in a self-aggrandizing, self-destruct way, we do this every day. Our modern manifestation has happened in the past in Nineveh, or Sodom or Gomorrah to name a few. Many people will sadly choose the wide road, to keep their wealth instead of giving it up for Christ.
Christ doesn’t want you to give up your passions for life, for the good things in life in fact He desires you enjoy the gifts you are given. The problem has always been we worship the created things and not the creator, or we find other idols, people, political movements, cults, conspiracies etc. Right now, in America and elsewhere “Belonging” is more important than truth or reality.
Being willfully ignorant has become the acceptable norm in a culture that has no foundation, moral or otherwise. When I was growing up in the age before computers and social media, we had the Foundation of church and by extension of Christ. Had I been choice at that time perhaps I too would have chosen some spiritual product based on my wants and desires.
It is worth noting that is almost always the privileged and elite that promote not only such things as Communism or Marxism but will disengage from traditional faith/religion to try something more extreme. Working class people understand the necessity for survival and flourishing of belonging to their community, institutions, and local and family traditions. Have you noticed that Atheism and Agnosticism is not seen in lower-incomes and in developing nations?
Our Fallen world and the nations in it always come to what we are experiencing today. God has gifted America with many things in the History of the world but our choices in faith and obedience to him is still a personal choice of free will with widespread implications. Our lack of faith in God as a people can bring down a nation. The reality is there is nothing easy or comfortable about being committed to following Jesus. There are those who say otherwise, mostly those who have bought into the lie of the Prosperity Gospel etc. or some other form of consumer Christianity.
So as Christians that seem to know better (at this point in time) you and I must reach out to the young people and anyone to extend the truth of Christ and the Gospel. It wont ultimately be up to us, but we can make the effort. The Holy Spirit is at work well beyond our efforts. People are often weak and quit when the going gets rough no matter what it is. But your eternal destiny is no small matter. Instead of giving up on God, and you will be the one to suffer, dig in, dig deep, find others who can support you and help you. Find a church or a group of people to do church with. Read God’s Holy Word every day, pray, confess, repent be countercultural in the true sense of the word!
Matthew 7:13 13 “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy1 that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. 14 For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.”