I have been reading a book, Almost Christian, by Kenda Creasy Dean. It is a profound book. It is a book that has named the power that has infected so many churches and is draining the spiritual power that true faith gives to a believer. It is called Moralistic Therapeutic Deism. Moralistic Therapeutic Deism is a bigger threat to the church than secularism or atheism have ever been. It is such a danger because of its seemingly benign nature. It says a Christian is good, is nice, and believes God is there to help just when we need God. It does not deny the cross, it just makes it not matter. It does not deny the doctrines of the faith it just makes them not matter.
Moralistic Therapeutic Deism is about religion for us, a deceptively selfish, self-centered view of faith that caters to us rather than calling us to living a holy life for God. It is solidly rooted in our materialistic, consumer culture. It is a theology of compromise to convenience. It does not call for sacrifice, for radical love or the importance of service.
I am convinced more than ever we are in one of the most difficult times of persecution the Church has ever faced. The most frightening thing about this persecution is that it is self-inflicted and self-administered as we allow it to push true faith toward seeming irrelevancy.
We must grow in grace and strength of the Spirit is we are to preserver.
For the last few days I have spent most of my time in bed. I have been battling some unknown illness (most likely a virus) that has left me bouts of chills and ills. It is not bad enough yet to go to a doctor. I have not yet passed through it enough to trust that I will not share it with someone else. It has left me homebound. It has left me rather weak and at times has made it very hard to keep clear thoughts or accomplish much of anything.
I believe it is a gift from God.
I have been pushing myself. I have been striving to do things (church work) on my own ability. I feel compelled to get this done and that done. I have been so busy I have found myself rushing through devotions and readings in order to try and meet schedules and work through projects. Then came this illness.
When you are sick you have time to reflect. When you are sick you come to understand that you are not nearly important to the events of the world as you think you are. As for me, this illness has open my eyes to how important I am to God. I am important to God because God knew I needed rest. God knew I was letting my busy-ness become a false sense of merit. In this illness I have been able to re-evaluate some of my priorities. I have been allowed to see some mistakes I have been making. I was becoming to enmeshed to be an effective leader. You cannot lead for the edge when you are stuck in the center. In this illness I have had time to think about other activities and behaviors that may seem to be good but are not the best God asks of me.
Yes, this illness is a gift for which I am grateful.
Holy God, Holy and Strong, Holy and Immortal, have mercy upon us.