Idolatry Takes a Hit

By Kersley Fitzgerald

I think idolatry took a hit on Tuesday, November 6, 2012.

After an eternity of pontificating and caterwauling, a large segment of the American Christian Culture were left outside in the rain, clutching their pumpkin spice lattes , and reassuring each other that God was still in control.

As a friend of a friend pointed out, if "God is in control" is your go-to phrase only after you've lost, you've made God your Plan B.

The fact is, we have made an idol out of the good life. We have far more luxuries than our families did 100 years ago. Bigger houses, more cars, electronics in every corner. If you don't have a smart phone, people wonder what's wrong with you. And we have made an idol out of a country that only vaguely lives its life based on Judeo-Christian values.

Our idols and vague values are now seriously threatened. Taxes will rise. Immoral behavior will be government-sanctioned and even subsidized. It may even become 1% more inconvenient to worship God in the manner to which we've become accustomed.

I really don't think God is weeping into His Wheaties about this.

Yes, it's okay to mourn loss. It's okay to recognize and even be frustrated with inconvenience. And it's fine to ask God for justice in a society wracked by moral decline. But if we are to maintain our integrity as followers of Christ, it is not okay to fall into despair. Or even grouchiness.

Driving to work this morning, I listened to the DJ talking about how Mandisa's song "Good Morning" was growing on him. He pointed out that most contemporary Christian songs are about some sad and tragic circumstance that causes the singer to rely on God. Which is fine, and people relate to that, but collectively, it's made Christian music sound like a bunch of whiney funeral dirges.

Where is the joy we're supposed to have? If the "joy of the Lord is our strength," we need to hit the gym, because I'm not hearing a lot of strength out there.

Here's the deal. Our citizenship is not on earth. "All I know is I'm not home yet." We are citizens of Heaven who are living on earth for a short time as ambassadors to tell people how great our hometown is and convince them to move there. We may tell ourselves this too, but we never really listen. Convenience is not a virtue. Two cars, a big house, and a retirement account are not promises God made to us. Whether we have them or not, we are still to find our joy in Him. Yet we can't even find joy when we have all the goodies.

This election was to some extent an exercise in ambivalence, and I hope we really internalize that. There was no good candidate because "there is no one who seeks for God." What we forget — or refuse to acknowledge — is that this has always been true. There has been no perfect president. There has been no president who faithfully followed God's word in every decision. Really, there has been no president (or citizen) who didn't, in some way, add to the moral decline of the country. It just doesn't work that way. We are living, breathing balls of entropy that corrode everything we touch.

So there are some questions that I think we need to answer:
  • I don't like to spend so much of my tax money on welfare; how can I help others reach their potential so they don't have to be on it?
  • I don't like that the government endorses abortion at any point; how can I make my immediate area a place that is nurturing to pregnant mothers in crisis?
  • I don't like that my place of business is being forced to provide birth control; how can I mentor others in a loving way so they understand the implications?
  • I don't like that my retirement's gone down the drain; God, how do You want me to continue to serve You as I get older?
  • I don't like that my taxes are going up; God, how can I spend my money wisely and trust You to provide?
  • I don't like that gay marriage is becoming more and more legalized; God, how can I make my marriage a healthy one as well as reach the homosexual community with Your love?
I'm a firm believer that democracy is a great spiritual form of government. It allows the people to decide how much they want their own way and how much they want God's blessings. It is good and right for Christians to want their neighbors to want God's blessings. But what this election has managed to do is show in what ways our neighbors are broken and need God's truth in their lives personally. No president can do that. It's all well and good for a nation to have laws that encourage the common grace of God to bless a nation, but it's meaningless if it makes believers so smug and complacent that they ignore the pain of the lost around them.

My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus' blood and righteousness. I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus' name.

God, always and forever, is Plan A. And there is no Plan B.

Image Credit: Keith Bacongco; "ballot boxes"; Creative Commons

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Published 11-13-12