quotes reflections

Thoughts for a Sunday

October 30, 2011

The American Christian Cocktail: Just Add Water

“I looked back at the previous 10 years and realized I had spent 10 years trying to convince kids to behave Christianly without actually teaching them Christianity. And that was a pretty serious conviction. You can say, “Hey kids, be more forgiving because the Bible says so,” or “Hey kids, be more kind because the Bible says so!” But that isn’t Christianity, it’s morality.”

“And that was such a huge shift for me from the American Christian ideal. We’re drinking a cocktail that’s a mix of the Protestant work ethic, the American dream, and the gospel. And we’ve intertwined them so completely that we can’t tell them apart anymore. Our gospel has become a gospel of following your dreams and being good so God will make all your dreams come true. It’s the Oprah god. So I had to peel that apart. I realized I’m not supposed to be pursuing impact, I’m supposed to be pursuing God. And when I pursue God I will have exactly as much impact as He wants me to have.”
Phil Vischer describes a life-changing paradigm shift that took place in his life, and in doing so aptly describes our conservative-American religious ideology. At best, I fear we have far too long presented ourselves, our children, and our culture with a watered-down Gospel. At worst, perhaps it becomes a false-Gospel of morality that guarantees to give us success wherever we carry our made-in-America, plastic-Jesus talismans. And that cocktail is a deadly molotov cocktail. (And yet, even these distortions are not so powerful that God cannot triumph over them!!)


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