God’s love letter—the Bible—contains everything necessary to assure the richest possible human experience. However, simple intellectual knowledge of the Bible is seldom sufficient to change a life to the extent necessary to experience the full richness of life that God intended. A life-changing experience tends to arise when intellectual knowledge expands to include emotional and spiritual knowledge deeply embedded within the soul. The movement of the wholeness of knowledge from the head to the soul arises from growing interpersonal relationships and frequent, active, and conscious choices to serve the needs of others, sacrificing the desires of self along the way. Knowledge embedded in the soul creates the drive to do right and grow in godly character. Soulful knowledge evokes motivation; head knowledge is merely stored.
However, godly growth—the movement of the fragmented head knowledge to the wholeness of the soul—is inhibited by intense cultural peer pressure. Like everyone else, Jews and Christians are endlessly bombarded by the lures of materialism, self-indulgence, and boundaryless sex, which virtually always come at the expense of others. The lures are so intense and unrelenting that they facilitate compromises in honesty, integrity, and other important character values. The lack of values has become a new norm in the mainstream culture and a persistent temptation within what remains of the Judeo-Christian culture. So many believers have at least tacitly moved from a sense of temptation to the new norm of lost or compromised values that statistically there is no difference in the tragic rates of divorce and abortion between believers and unbelievers, including atheists and agnostics.
No one wakes up in the morning stretching, rubbing the sleep out of his or her eyes thinking, “What a beautiful day; what a great day to go out and sin!” Compromises to values, patterns of poor behavior, and a drift away from God progressively result from extremely small, barely inappropriate, seemingly inconsequential decisions that accumulate over days, weeks, months, and years. The gradual erosion of values is ultimately passed from generation to generation. The end game is that the American culture and the great American experiment in self-rule are in grave jeopardy, because Judeo-Christian believers have become compromised followers, rather than principled leaders. The cultural pressures are so great that believers are unlikely to mature and grow in character without making regular, conscious, deliberate decisions to serve the needs of others, beginning with the family and working outwards. In an expanded sense, the price of spiritual apathy is extremely high here and may cause many people to miss out on eternity with God later.
The Judeo-Christian culture is a subset of the national culture. From the founding of the United States through the first 150 years, the Christian culture and Judeo-Christian tradition dominated the national culture. Regardless of whether or not specific individuals or groups were “believers,” the culture was driven by the national “soul,” which was steeped in Judeo-Christian tradition. But in recent decades major demographic changes along with the steady erosion of morals and traditional standards of behavior have resulted in a shrinking proportion of loving devout believers in the American culture wielding diminishing influence. The United States simply cannot survive continued massive assaults on Christianity, the family, the Constitution, and the free enterprise economic system. Founder John Adams thoughtfully commented:
We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry, would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.
Several years ago a protestant pastor was heard commenting that, “Christians no longer have a culture.” They have been largely assimilated by the secularized national culture. Similarly, in an interview, the Catholic Pope Benedict was asked to identify the greatest challenge facing the church today. His reply was that the greatest challenge facing the church today is the secularization of the church, a response remarkably similar to the pastor’s comment. What do you think?
6 thoughts on “Have You Ever Received a Love Letter from God?”
You’re so right, Lloyd. The church has been alarmingly secularized. People are often more interested in being entertained. They want a pastor who will say things they like to hear and have tuned out to what God might want to say. What I love about my Christian community is that we’re listening for God’s voice. Once you begin to hear from Him, it’s hard to settle for anything less.
Betsy, many people are getting the sugar coating without the medicine. What do you think?
the people are only the the way they are because the church is no longer doing its job. the church should stand for something not change as opinion changes. If the church dos not hold a set of morals.That do not waver with the political times how can you expect that followers to have any real morals. the collective christian community has to make a stand it is not OK to not say something when Christmas becomes X-miss or “the holidays”. The church should be in vary vocal. Small concessions to the Liberals add up to big losses over time.
That’s right, Henry. Part of the problem is that the young ministers have grown up in the same broken culture as the people in their church. After growing up in a broken culture the rising ministers attended a seminary that uses an education model similar to secular universities. The modern Judeo-Christian drift away from God includes the people and, in many cases, their pastors as well. The result is that six out of ten young people are leaving their church some time during their twenties. Jewish synagogues are experiencing the same phenomena. On the other end, walk into many churches today and see a sea of gray hair. Sadly, a recent Winter Haven newspaper featured a front page picture of an empty church. The apparently shrinking congregation had to leave to find smaller quarters.
All is not lost. God is still in charge! An old song projects the line, “It only takes a spark to get a fire going.” Together, we can be the spark that reignites the body of Judeo-Christian believers in our time. It may be a long slog, but it’s definitely worth it. What do you think?
I love your blog Lloyd! You inspire others to do good using your gift of words.
Thank you for your very kind thoughts.