Generation Hope7:30 AM
My mama read little Bailey the story of Chicken Licken and the acorn that fell on her tail. "The sky is falling, the sky is falling!" she shrieked, and convinced Henny Penny, Lucy Goosey, Turkey Lurkey and Ducky Daddles to fear the same. Now I read that story to my preschoolers, and I can't help but trace the connection between the destruction of sane Christianity by self-proclaimed doomsayers and the fowls' end in Foxy Woxy's tummy.
Perhaps because of my aberrant eschatological beliefs I am disqualified from commenting, but as I am a Christian radio listener and a CBD catalog patron, I feel in turn perfectly justified.
If we get out from Sunday evening service before Musical Memories, inevitably we hear something about prophecy, the Middle East and how everything's lined up: "Now, I'm not setting dates, John, but I am convinced that Jesus will return in our lifetime."
At least those who set up dates do so honestly, extrapolating revelation from imagination, instead of fitting in the puzzle pieces of a broken world into a clear time frame for Jesus' return. Bestsellers run along the same line - "I'm not saying anything, but I'm just saying...." I don't understand how propounding an admitted guess as a done deal does any good to anybody. Of course Jesus could come now. Or now. Or now. The fact is we don't know. Saying you do when you admit you don't - but maybe it's my logic that's off.
Things are lurching along at a troubling pace, undoubtedly. But while a good portion of Christendom predicts gloom and doom, I and many others hold out for hope. Hear me out.
So much of Christianity has been wrapped up in Western culture that we think that losing the latter will lose the former. If America falls, all is lost! If we don't return to the Greatest Generation, we're doomed! If we don't wear suits and hats to church, we're heading for decay!
Quick side note: I wish we would revive hats and suits - I like them.
As much as I love America, I do not consider her the Christian Israel nor do I think her downfall spells disaster. Yes, a Judeo-Christian worldview was woven into America's fabric, yet even if the majority were Christians back in the revolutionary period, they aren't now. We're a very post-Christian nation.
And that both saddens and excites me.
Because it's becoming increasing unpopular to be explicitly, unapologetically Christian, the true church is separating from the culturally Christian - those who identify themselves so only to be in fashion or good society. It becomes harder for people to take the name Christian lightly. Hardly anybody knows anything about Christianity at all nowadays, so the church must evangelize from the roots up, covering all the bases, instead of assuming that, because we're a Christian nation, people know about Christ and His gospel.
Even though persecution is rampant overseas (are we really so spoiled as to call our pigheaded politics full-blown persecution?), the gospel spreads like wildfire and Christians spring up everywhere. God is not dead, as Nietzsche lied. He lives. And until the moment He comes, He will preserve His church, glorify His Name and send out His gospel.
Why sound the trumpet of defeat right when we're in the middle of victory?
We may lose America and Western culture - which has done much to glorify Christ and evangelize and disciple, yes. But God's primary concern is lost people, not lost culture, a thing American and Western culture has also greatly contributed to. And there is much, much evidence of the Spirit at work in individuals.
I think that many Christians over the age of thirty approach all this rather cynically - things aren't the way they used to be (and they're not) and therefore the end is near. Their Christianity is very cultural and American. Not solely, of course, but very much a part of their lifetimes. My generation grew up in post-Christian America. We know nothing else but that. And so instead of sitting in the piles of rubble lamenting that our house has fallen and everything's getting worse, we're concerned with the people the house might have fallen on...and how to build it back up. We have no personal loss in the fall of America: we only know the world is wrecked, the culture failing and the people in need of saving.
We are a generation of hope.