Thursday, October 8, 2015


I Was Just Thinking About - - -

There are particular ideas that were accepted as norms in our culture and society. A Motto was born early in the history of this nation, E Pluribus Unum. It was based upon and referred to the fact that the United States was formed as a cohesive single nation as the result of the thirteen smaller colonies joining together. As the American cultural was being built with the influx of legal immigrants, E Pluribus Unum – “Out Of Many, One” – became more meaningful as the idea of America being the “melting pot” for those invited by the words of The New Colossus: “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!" The New Colossus was written by American poet Emma Lazarus in 1883. In 1903, the poem was engraved on a bronze plaque and mounted inside the lower level of the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty.

During the mid-Twentieth Century, a new culture began to emerge that was fueled first by the influence of Existentialism and then with the emphases of Liberation Theology. Existentialism was birthed primarily in Germany and was “a modern philosophical movement that stressed the importance of personal experience and responsibility.” Such a one is seen as a free moral agent in a deterministic and seemingly meaningless universe.” It pictured “faith” as stepping out into the dark abyss of nothingness while maintaining one’s courage to be amid the meaninglessness of life and the culture. Liberation Theology became a movement that attempted to “interpret Scripture through the plight of the poor. True followers of Jesus, according to liberation theology, must work toward a just society, bring about social and political change, and align themselves with the working class. Jesus, who was poor Himself, focused on the poor and downtrodden, and any legitimate church will give preference to those who have historically been marginalized or deprived of their rights…Defending the rights of the poor is seen as the central aspect of the gospel. An example of how liberation theology views Scripture through the lens of the poor and destitute, Luke 1:52–53, where Mary praises the Lord, saying: “He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty.” According to liberation theology, Mary is expressing joy that God has liberated the materially poor and fed the physically hungry while bringing down the materially rich. He is a God, in other words, who favors the destitute over those with wealth.

The result and fact is that a culture of narcissism has emerged, in which society exists primarily to make one happy. Society in the twenty-first century could even be addressed as the culture of entitlement. How does all of this square with Biblical teaching? What has been overlooked or ignored by this philosophical and liberal theological approach that is widespread today? A spiritual E Pluribus Unum is adequately summarized in Philippians 2:1-4, “Therefore if you have any encouragement in Christ, if any comfort from His love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, then make my joy complete by being of one mind, having the same love, being united in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or empty pride, but in humility consider others more important than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” This would revolutionize the culture IF or WHEN we could influence people to believe and practice these words. A motivation for this kind of attitude and practice are the words of Proverbs 29:7(a), " The righteous care about justice for the poor." This thought also extends to the "weaker" in Psalm 41:1-3, “Blessed are those who have regard for the weak; the Lord delivers them in times of trouble. The Lord protects and preserves them; they are counted among the blessed in the land; he does not give them over to the desire of their foes.”

What is your attitude and response to the powerless, the poor, the weak? What is your response to the “stranger” in your midst or community (Matthew 25:37-40)? Do you ignore such a one or reach out to him in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ? The eternal consequences are considerable for the ones oriented to the culture of narcissism and who readily pass by the stranger, the powerless, the poor, the weak and/or the needy. Be ready and eager to be a servant to the unknowns. God is watching and monitoring our attitudes and our actions toward them. Consider these things with me.

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