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Thursday, July 23, 2009

Jesus and the American Dream Don't Mix?

Worth noting, especially for those of you sporting "God Bless America" stickers on your gas-guzzling SUV's: Pastor Shel features an interview with Pastor Jared Wilson, author of Your Jesus Is Too Safe.

Our Jesus is too safe when it turns out he likes and dislikes the same people and things we do. For our church culture, it’s things like success at work, prospering in our finances, achieving our dreams, etc. But every time I read the Sermon on the Mount, for instance, I am immediately comforted and challenged at the same time. It totally freaks me out. If Jesus in the Gospels doesn’t challenge your idols, your worship of them is more entrenched than you realize.

My friend Ray Ortlund says making Jesus the chaplain of the American dream is blasphemous. I think he’s touched on the prevailing sin of Western evangelical culture [Jared Wilson, quoted by Shel Boese, "Your Jesus is Too Safe 2nd Interview Ed Stetzer – He is NOT the chaplain of the American Dream," News, Thoughts, Theology, Teaching..., 2009.07.22].

I'll leave it to you believers to hash that one out. Now if Pastor Jared would just tuck that shirt in....


  1. You mean Jesus wouldn't want us hooking electrodes to terrorists nads? Crazy!

  2. My faith in the higher power known as the Holy Trinity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit are what keeps me going.

    My faith given to me as a gift of the Spirit helps me to stay clean.

    My belief in God was reafirmed when going through Radiation Treatment.

    My strength comes from the Spirit of God and led me back to myself when I was "lost" for so long.

    My gratitude to Christ was never more apparent then when my miracle IVF son (only one egg survived the IXY process, we were both told we couldn't have children, wife over 35, wife developed preclampsia and almost stroked out last month of pregnancy) was born a month early and almost died but just celebrated 18 healthy months.

    I'm not a "blind" faith believer though.

    I understand that the Bible was written by Man and has been doctored so many times by so many differant entities that it barely resembles those beautiful writings of the early Jews and Christians.

    I understand that most of the Old Testament stories are metaphors and told so that those that the stories were ORIGINALLY intended for would understand them.

    I also know that science has proven that there was a flood. I know that Moses was written of by Egyptians not just Hebrews. For those interested I HIGHLY reccomend Haleys Biblical Guide.

    Haleys is full of archeological and scientific proof of Biblical happenings. Great book, I refer to it weekly at least and sometimes daily.

    So let's say, for the sake of arguement, that Jesus wasn't the "Son of God", but instead just a flesh and blood man.

    A man named Jesus DID actually exist and has been written about outside of Jewish/Christian history of that timeframe.

    Is what this man taught so terrible or is it actually a great, wonderful and noble guideline for living our lives?

    I personally choose to believe that Jesus is the Son of God given human flesh. That is my choice. This doesn't make me naive or simple. (Trust me when I say I have been around a number of blocks...mostly in neighborhoods I wouldn't send my worst enemy into!)

    I have much "life experiance", but if my travels have taught me nothing else they have taught me this...Without Faith I will fail. Without a higher power I will fail.
    Without The Holy Trinity I am less then I am now.

    That doesn't make me weak; it makes me, in fact, stronger.

    I'm a three time loser with a rap sheet as long as my arm, I'm a former drug addict that has been sober for over 15 years now, I burned every bridge that there was to burn with family and friends and most of them are back in my lives. Despite all of that I run a church youth group that started with zero kids, grew to 20 it's first year and over 40 last year in only it's second year. I am brutally honest with these teens. I drop the "F" bomb, I tell them that I don't think that there really was a Garden of Eden, I talk to them about life and the turmoils involved in this journey and lead them to scriptures from the Bible that relate to today.

    Every single one of The above are small but true miracles that happened because of a power much much greater then myself.

    Does God aprove of the way the world, for the most part, is today? Great question and my simple answer is no; most definately not. But here is the most amazing miracle of all to me, a Christian. God as a creator of all gave us FREE WILL to make decisions...right or wrong. God allows us to be these wonderful mixed up imperfect creations that will without fail disapoint him. BUT....

    BUT...it is only through His eternal love and graciousness that we are forgiven and blessed.

    That promise of John 3:16 is what helps me sleep at night. That verse comforts me when I think of the future my son may face. That wonderful pact heals my tattered soul.

    Blessings to all of you no matter your beliefs.

    Shane Micheal Gerlach
    Yankton by way of the triangle known as Flandreau/Brookings/Madison

  3. Shane, neither Pastor Shel nor Pastor Jared will take issue with your saving faith... and neither will I. The concern the pastors express—and which I share—is that some evangelicals conflate Christianity with patriotism. The Gospels don't bow to any flag or choose any nation.


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