Ain’t how it used to be!


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There’s a pervasive myth around Christian circles…  The myth that “things used to be better” people used to be more pure, less sinful, more honest… there were less killings, less greed, less corruption, etc.  ‘Today humanity is in a sad state compared to a long long time ago.’  But that’s simply not true.  Some parts of history were better than others – but overall, Sin reigned over humanity just as much in your grandmother’s day as it did today…  It irks me when old white Christians from rural places talk about the “good old days.”   Didn’t people get lynched around your neighborhood in those “good old days?”  Uhuh.  Actually your generation made a lot of stupid mistakes too…  So instead of mourning for our present society according to the standard of other generations – how about loving this present world, learn to speak its language, heal, listen, pray and redeem it?

One of the cultural challenges of being a Christian is – we get to visit different times and cultures (in the Bible and first hand), and we want to learn as much as we can from other cultures… Especially things God does through other cultures…  But at the same time we must live in our own.  We must love the world.  Why?  Because God loves the world… a lot (my paraphrase of John 3:16)

Another challenge of being a Christian is, instead of looking back (to an idyllic past, made up of bs) or sideways (at idyllic cultures, or so we think), we must look forward in faith to how God will set our world right.  We don’t want to turn back the clock – we want to help push it forward…  To get a picture of how the world will be like when heaven is on earth, and make it more like that picture… And although there are many naysayers within the church who predict gloom and doom, we have a lot to be thankful for and rejoice about.  Consider just a few:

  • We probably have the least corrupt government ever!  Compared to other times in history – there is less bribery, less nepotism, less unjust gain – than ever.  Whether you agree with a politician or not, almost all of our country’s representatives are ideologically motivated and have a desire to do what (they think) is best for the country…
  • We have more wealth than ever.  Although there can be great inequality when it comes to wealth – the average person in the developed world has more safety, more freedom, and more options than ever before…
  • We have better communication than the world has ever known.  Not only can we write to anyone in the world, but we can also (for developed, and many developing countries) instant message, video conference, etc…  The world is smaller than it has ever been.
  • There is greater cultural awareness in this country than there was 10 years ago, and MUCH more than 20 or 30 or 40 years ago.
  • The US, and New York in particular, is home to not only those of European descent, but from people of almost every nation in the world.  We have Sunni and Shia Muslims living side by side with Hindus, Christians, Buddhists…  And we manage to do it without race riots – and without anyone getting lynched, or getting an effigy on their lawns…
  • There are more people who call themselves “Christians” in the world today – than there were people in the entire world during Jesus’ time.

So take heart! There’s a long way to go, and a lot of broken stuff to fix…  Those “good ole days” weren’t as good as they say – but the future can be even better if the people with resources (like us) also have the faith to follow a God who says He’s making everything new…

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