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We have a problem in this country and I don't know how many ways God can show us. Not being at all being critical but observant.
I get to speak at a number of venues. Many are faith-based while others are secular or a mix of both. Without exception, the secular audiences are always more diverse than Christian audiences.
The Christian audiences will either be all white or all black. If all white - Republican, Tea Party, right-wing - few if any moderates. Obama haters. Trump lovers.
If all black - Democratic. Liberal. Obama lovers. Trump haters.
Both audiences would identify as Christian, claim to love God (with conservative audiences putting their love for country on par with their love for God - God and country).
May I ask a question? How is it that the American flag is now part of the American experience of worship? But I digress.
I don't doubt anyone's profession of faith. But I doubt all day long some's commitment to the faith.
One day Jesus was walking with his disciples. The Bible says he was hungry and he saw a fig tree in full bloom. The blooms indicated the tree should have been filled with figs. It wasn't. It only looked like it was bearing fruit but it was barren. Jesus said to it, "may no one ever eat fruit from you again!" (Mark 11:12)
The fig tree, filled with leaves but no fruit, represented the nation of Israel. Israel was filled with religious leaders, religious leaders schooled in the law, religious leaders in the synagogues. Israel was full of religion, but spiritually barren.
This describes the church in America. America is filled with religious leaders; religious leaders schooled at the best seminaries; religious leaders that can exegesis and homiletic you into heaven; religious leaders leading mega ministries.
America is full of religion, but America is increasingly spiritually barren.
The declining numbers of those identifying as Christian prove it.
The problem is not the NRA. The problem is not Donald John Trump. The problem is not Black Lives Matter. The problem is not the Republican Party. The problem is not the Democratic Party. The problem is not Antifa. The problem is not immigration. The problem is not the KKK. The problem is not Bob Mueller. The problem is not a do nothing Congress. The problem is not abortion. The problem is not same-sex marriage. The problem is not fake news. These are symptoms. The problem is not...
The biggest problems we have in America - name one - homelessness, the breakdown of the family, abortion, you name it --- ALL could be resolved IF the body of Christ were healthy.
I don't want to sound all "religiousy" so let me make this real simple. The body of Christ is "the church."
When you hear people talk about "the church," they're talking about the parts that make up the body... i.e., the people.
The church is not a building. Not a preacher. Not a denomination. The church is the body of Christ. And the body of Christ in America is sick!
There would not be the plethora of social problems in America if the body of Christ were healthy.
It looks healthy -- look at the beautiful mega buildings, the impressive mega ministries, the star power preachers and worship leaders; mega-watt Christian radio and Christian TV stations and best selling Christian books and Christian this and that .... fig trees.
Glamorous on the outside. Looking fertile on the outside, but its fruit is rotten.. separatism, racism, worldly politics, greed and hate permeate the innards of the American church body.
Jesus told us... left us with this, taught us this. We are the light of the world. But our light is dim and getting dimmer by the day.
The exponential darkness in the world can be tied to the exponential dimness of the church.
I'm not condemning. I'm not hating. I am just stating the obvious and saying what few are too afraid to say. I have no such fear.
Jesus said that the world will know we are His by our love for one another. We are so far from Jesus' standard of measurement.
Many in the body hate other parts of the body. When the body turns on itself it creates fatal diseases such as cancer and autoimmune diseases.
The body of Christ is no different. Why do you think Apostle Paul used the analogy of the body and body parts to describe the church?
Go to most any church on Sunday morning. I dare you. The body will either be all white. All black. All Hispanic. OR, mostly white. Mostly black. Mostly Hispanic.
Then look up in the pulpit. God help us.. the pulpit. When the pulpit has a cold, the body gets pneumonia. Well the pulpit in America has progressed from a cold to it having pneumonia and the body now has emphysema.
Just take a look the next time you're in any church. Every one of those preachers will either be all white. All black. All Hispanic. Or, there will be a window dresser.
If a baby is born with all legs, a leg where the head should be, but the brain is a leg. A leg where the heart should be, but the heart is a leg. The world of science would look at that body as deformed, sick and not able to live a full and effective life.
Don't you know Christians that millions in America look at us the same? Deformed, sick and ineffective.
We can't fool people anymore. Social media is putting all of our fig trees on display and while we look "Christianly," act "Christianly," sing "Christianly," and speak Christianese - many are as barren as that fig tree in Mark 11.
When the world looks at the body of Christ it sees a sick, deformed body.
Christians, our body is sick. And God will continue to show us how sick we are through calamity, natural disasters, societal upheaval, the innocent being slaughtered and unrest.
"You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men." - Matthew 5:13
"You are the light of the world... Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven." - Matthew 5:14
The world looks at the body of Christ and laughs. It looks at its preachers and leaders and laughs even harder.
You, me , we are being trampled under foot and no one but God can save America and no one but God can make America great.
Obama was here, now off the scene. How is that hope and change working for us?
Trump is here and too will be off the scene. Will America be any greater?
Church people who have bowed to their politics and made it their God; this President their savior; and, again it seems their race as superior.... what are you going to do when you see a Barack Obama or an Al Sharpton standing next to you in heaven?
Or those who abhor Donald Trump, what are you going to do when you see him standing next to you in heaven?
No one knows a man's or woman's heart but God. If the vilest of sinners accepted Christ on his or her death bed and you lived a holy life all your life, guess what? That vile person is going to be just as accepted in eternity as you or me.
Think on that a minute.
We ought to quit, church folks, and instead of trying to remove the speck of wood in everyone else's eye who don't agree with our politics; or, are not of our tribe, we need to first remove the plank from our own.
The litmus test is no longer if we love the LORD with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our strength and with all our mind and our neighbor as our self - it is now whether we love the Republican or Democratic Party with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our strength and with all our mind... and those who look like us as our self.
As much as I love God; as educated as I am in theology; as much as I love all people, as strong as my walk is with God, I wouldn't any more be welcomed with open arms in a predominately white, conservative church than anything. Why? Because my politics don't line up with their pulpit and the people in the pews.
I have had white Christians, who I thought were friends, unfriend me on Facebook the moment I criticized Donald Trump.
Conversely, I have had black Christians who don't even know me take a strong dislike to me because I dared criticize Barack Obama.
My allegiance is to the God I serve and to the Jesus who died on the cross for me. I don't live my life on the likes of people but on the grace and love of God. And my freedom, confidence and resourcefulness is in Him.
The problem with America? The body of Christ has lost its way and the blind is now leading the blind.... right over the cliff.
Dorothy Burton is an author, conference and keynote speaker for various organizations and governments across the country. She is the author of the new book, Why We Fall: The Power of Self-Awareness.
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Published on Wednesday, September 12, 2018 @ 10:05 AM CDT