Saturday, August 26, 2017

Fighting the Illogical Mood of the Moment

Recently, I began to recount some of the conversations I have had in my office over the last 5 years with students who are either apathetic or resistant in  their fellowship with God.

To be honest, it is the most important part of my job. Good honest conversations.... building a trust to where a kid feels free to tell me the truth......

I have had to practice the art of asking questions and choosing to 'lecture' in small amounts... at some point the glaze begins to grow... it makes me sad, frustrating, and fills me with urgent prayer. But during these times, I never feel more alive.

I have written on this many times...but even my writing seems to be impacting a smaller and smaller group of readers.... apologetics seems to be on the way out and living life based on a 'mood' is in. Logic is out and blind allegiance to an acceptance by the 'elites' of culture is in. Satan has done a good job of making truth seem old and outdated- there has never been a greater need for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit.

The pomp and pressure of those who present themselves as the cultural elite offer much promise, but in reality, they only produce exclusive caste systems and cynicism. The ultimate fruit of intellectual oppression is a quest for power and the greatest use of that power is cynical, dream killing, skepticism.  Logging in hours and hours of cultural messaging through screen time hasn't helped.

As a parent, I have failed here too many times. How often I have gotten caught up in whether my child is hitting benchmarks of societal success, but spending too little time unraveling the lies of our culture. 

There is nothing sadder to me than a 15 or 16 year old kid who is so wooed by a virtual world that he rejects the real world of people who really matter and who really care. I continue to love them, pray harder than ever, but wonder if God will have to break them to make them.

I recorded an Os Guinness quote in 2010 about this: "Yes, there was brilliance (of the cultural elite), but its darker side was the empty rhetoric, the hypocritical poses, the shabby compromises. the betrayal of friends and causes, with some people fellow-traveling with the communists, and others more or less sleeping with fanaticism...The legacy of this kind of general mood became a more effective inoculation against the faith than any of the skeptics of a former time."

It makes me constantly aware that there is a growing class of students who need a new delivery system of the true message of hope. I mean- I still have a ton of traditionalists, the most common student in a Christian school. Traditionalists have a strong sense of right and wrong- they have a foundation of TRUTH.
But I am also increasingly living among those (especially the young- media savvy- who tend to think by sight and act by impulse) who judge truth not by objectivity, but degrees of plausibility.

Again, Guinness's weighs in on this....- "we have created a climate in which a thing's seeming to be true is often mistaken for its being true." or WORSE, they just accept what twitter and snap chat is telling them without any discernment.

And what is the means of this change? By changing the definition and standards of 'belief'.

We allow and even applaud people who believe or disbelieve on non-rational or psychological grounds. 

Ca you see what is wrong with the following statement?


What has become of logic?
Guinness has an analogy where we accept a person who is an atheist- not because they have weighed truth and fallacy- but simply because their father was a religious hypocrite who alienated the family from God as much as himself.

Unfortunately, we fall into this trap when we begin to elevate psychology over Scripture or only accept interpretation and application of Scripture as it fits the latest psychological models.

See how subtle it is? We agree with truth if the support structure is strong. But if the support structure is weak, it is harder to believe.

In today's world...."Coach your opinions with care and and, soon,  plausibility will upstage credibility"- this is a scary time in history!

The church is struggling with this culture.... she has a heart suffering from fibrillation - the rapid, irregular, and unsynchronized contraction of muscle fibers- 

------one spasmodic side is the Christian philosophers- who expound the theoretical- but seem to be impotent of gospel power....

 -------the other equally meaningless beat is the 'just give me Jesus' anti-intellectual crowd who throw out doctrine.

The Apostle Paul still helps us in this struggle.... He provides a framework for the fight. 

PAUL knows that the church is the pillar and bulwark of truth... not theory. 

Guinness: "Paul would have believed his faith was objectively true if he had been the last one convinced of it."

The truth of Christianity is NOT dependent on a strong church.. but a weak church hides TRUTH as it seems less credible, and a less credible church is a less plausible church. Again, there is a lot of teaching out there, but we have retreated from the fight and hope some smooth talking apologist will win the day.... but that is not how Jesus wants us to evangelize and disciple.

A huge roadblock in this mess is the frenzied pace of communication technology and global mobility. I haven't worn a watch since 2010 because of a Kenyan saying, "All westerners have watches... but Africans have time." Our fast paced, entertain me world has definitely impacted our approach to worship.

A culture of mobility plus convenience leads quite naturally not only to (drive-in food) and banks but also drive-in churches.

As our children see belief as a feeling of plausibility and relevance- as they are spun dizzy by infinite activity- as they are enticed by the promise of convenience- as they are distracted by new cool tools of transport of information tsunamis- they cannot understand that TRUTH is TRUE even if no one ascribes to it. 

'When the Son of Man returns, will he find faith on the earth?' He won't, if we have lost what 'faith' means. What will He say when we respond "It just didn't 'seem' right... It didn't feel true"?

So we can clearly see a Satanic tactic: 'Subtle compromise works better than sudden captivity'.

Is there a route out? Is there hope?

I say yes- students are still YEARNING for love, meaning, security... they are becoming EXPERTS at seeing pretense.

Here are some keys:

We need to slow down- we need to read the WORD- chew it- meditate on it and mull it over- we need true WORSHIP to lift us out of the trivial pursuits and insulated hearts.

We need to commit to personal, messy, time consuming, small group, life on life...discipleship.

In short- we have loved things and ideas that have not loved us back. We live for pleasure while the King suffered and died. 

Culture makes godliness seem strange, but without truth... justification of life is meaningless- 

Our children need to see us forsaking our idols- because the idols will soon forsake them.

But we also need to train our children how to ask the right questions- make men justify their beliefs.... make them follow the consequences of their faith.....and we desire to see the Holy Spirit.. illumine the TRUTH.

I am still hopeful, the gospel is that good- but we can't sit back and hope it happens by osmosis.

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