Last Sunday I listened to a message about becoming the people of God. It was delivered by a dear brother who I know loves the Lord and desires, above all, to serve God. The topic was about becoming the people of God with an emphasis on Acts 2 & 4. The whole community and sharing thing that many have talked about for the last, well, 2,000 years. In the message the speaker brought out the many perceived difficulties that the Church has in trying to embody these first century qualities. This is where I started to have issues.
The talk digressed into a demonization of western culture since the "good ol' days" of the 1950s. You know, Ozzie and Harriet, Father Knows Best, Leave it to Beaver, etc. The feeling among many like this pastor is that we were closer to, and more responsive to, God in those days. That the media, the government, technology, and other culture changing events have moved us closer to the brink of hell-fire and damnation. He stuck in the necessary "we're at war" statement to intimate that the culture, and those who drive it, are our enemies. By the time he was done I was totally frustrated. My frustration derives from the fact that people in the church in the U.S. many times equate the "thing" with the "people." The media becomes those people in the media. The government becomes this or that politician, big business becomes those people in business. The problem with that is we are NOT at war with these people. Our battle is with principalities and powers that are spiritual, not flesh and blood. But, our well-meaning leaders have targeted the flesh and blood and the spiritual enemy is ignored. I can't tell you how tired I am hearing about the bad new days. These are the days we live in. We need to deal with them in a way that honors Yahweh and brings the love and healing of Christ to bear. There's no use in whining and complaining. It's easy to sit back and say what the problems are. It's another thing to take action...any action...and do something constructive. If there's one thing that the Emergent Church can teach us, is that we have a responsibility and the resources to actually make a difference in the world. We can take on the principalities and powers in the name of Christ.