Thursday, March 04, 2010

Is the Church part of the American Dream?

The Church and Debt: Okay, so the poll is closed and the results are in: Only 25 people voted, but 77% thought churches should NOT go into debt, 9 % said yes, it was okay for the church to go into debt, and 13% were not sure. I know this is not a 'scientific' study, per se, but it affirms that this is something that churches in America need to be talking about and praying about and being open with their congregations about so they're not wooed by the enemy into becoming part of the American Dream. My favorite (biased) comment on the subject is here, in case you missed it.

I read a quote by Ed Stetzer yesterday that really spoke to my heart: "The American dream is one of the biggest distractions Satan uses us to distract us from God's global mission."

I've thought about this quote since I read it and throughout the night. I also finished reading Crazy Love by Francis Chan yesterday. Man, God is really messing with my brain and my heart. I know that He is calling me out, calling me to be different, and calling me to be "radical". I'm trying to seek God to find out what this will look like in my life. I've always been a little "radical" or "different" or "someone who marches to the beat of her own drum", but I know that God is asking me to "kick it up a notch".

I've lived the past thirty something years yearning for the American Dream: A nice big house (decorated like a Pottery Barn catalog), nice cars, healthy children, no wrinkles, a fashionable wardrobe, 401K, college funds, etc. You get the picture.

Now all of a sudden God has nailed home the reality that I am NOT promised tomorrow! What am I doing TODAY that will make a difference in light of eternity? James 4:13-14 says: Come now, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit." Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that just appears for a little while and vanishes away.

I'm writing all this because really I just need a good therapist but can't afford one...haha. Lucky for you all right? I'm struggling here with this and I hope some of you are too...... Why am I saving money to redo my bedroom with new duvet covers, paint, curtains, etc. when people are hungry and lonely and hurting? Yeah so my duvet cover is a little ripped and I don't like the paint color, but will I live without a new one? Of course. (But God... I REALLY want to paint my bedroom!! *stomping my foot*).

Surely we all know people who died suddenly or tragically.... they never saw it coming. If I died next week, would I want people to say "Kirsten has a really nicely decorated bedroom" or "Kirsten thought of the needs of others before her own"?

But this is HARD! My friend Anne Marie said this yesterday: HA! The American Dream - how long will we believe that lie. I still fall back into that lie so easily. As if we have been promised anything for this life except persecution and trouble because of our love for Christ. Salvation is all about when we are united with Him for eternity - not heaven, not what we think heaven has for us but HIM! Just Jesus! Oh if I could only remember this ever time I waver.

I feel the same way!! And this is the radical life that God wants us to live: to forsake the American Dream for Jesus... not conform to it!

Again, I don't know exactly what this looks like for me, but I'm excited, scared, anxious, etc. to find out!


clapag22 said...

I’ve never felt compelled to respond to anything you’ve written here. I always read what you post because you are one of my oldest and dearest friends and although we never see each other and don’t communicate much outside of Facebook, gTalk and Xmas cards, I love you like a sister. You know me, I bandy back and forth between atheism and agnosticism (and even on my most agnostic days all I can come up with is, “The world is too orderly to just be a big accident”). You amaze me. The way I observe you living your faith everyday is incredible and I completely understand your frustration and confusion. You give so much of yourself everyday as a mother, wife and Christ follower. I don’t get the problem with the American Dream. While you indeed do want those things associated with the American Dream, you are *still* living your faith more than just about anyone I’ve ever met that calls themselves a Christian. You are not one of those people who do what you do so other people can see you do it. How many people in church on Sundays are there so others will see them there and think the right thoughts about them? Seems like peer pressure is alive and well in American Churches these days. Personally, I don’t see why you cannot have both. xoxo

Heather said...

I love how your posts always make me THINK...How you're not afraid to share what challenges God is placing before you...and to challenge us in return. Thank you.