Tuesday Re-mix –
Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help,
who rely on horses,
who trust in the multitude of their chariots
and in the great strength of their horsemen,
but do not look to the Holy One of Israel,
or seek help from the Lord. Isaiah 31:1
I pay $4.00 for a cup of Starbucks coffee, when I could pay half that elsewhere. And I pay with my iPhone. And I follow American Idol (sort of). And I watch ESPN Sportcenter pretty much every day. And I follow secular bloggers, like Seth Godin and Michael Hyatt. I do most of these things because I want to be a part of this culture where I live…I want to understand it and to be accepted in it. I want to have influence in it as well. To be blunt, I want to be one of the cool kids.
I will also admit to you that I want this, even knowing that there are times and circumstances when it is not God’s first and perfect will for me. What I mean by that is…being one of the cool kids may well be more important to me sometimes than it should be. I try to be cognizant of that, but I am certain I sometimes miss the mark. I know that I am capable of looking in the wrong places for my acceptance…making “alliances” for my security other than with the Lord. In this regard, I am definitely still just a work in progress.
Judah did that with Egypt. In the face of certain discipline from God (at the hands of the Assyrians), rather than turning toward God and taking their medicine, they turned toward Egypt for acceptance and security. God’s path for them was going to be difficult and inconvenient and painful, and they wanted options. It was a pattern for them and it is a pattern for us as well, don’t you think?
I sometimes worry that the church is likewise guilty of this. I think we can work so hard to be culturally relevant (to be “one of the cool kids”), that we miss God’s intention for us. I think we must be careful about our “alliances”, i.e., those from whom we find our acceptance or our security. We may not be tempted by horses and chariots so much, but I do know I have seen churches turning to other worldly things for the preservation of their institution. For example, I have seen churches turn to financial security for their preservation. I have seen churches turn to political power for their preservation. I have seen churches relying upon the popularity of their pastor for their security. I have seen churches dilute the gospel in order to be accepted as “one of the cool kids” by their secular community.
The point is, the revolution Christ started is about being loving but is not about being popular…it is about being relevant and practical, but it is not about selling out to cultural supremacy…it is about meeting needs but it is not about feeding consumers. Sometimes, the line between these concepts is a fine line to walk. But walk it we must, wouldn’t you agree?