In 1926 J.W. Johnson penned these words in a classic “negro spiritual” as the songs of the era are called. The words hang heavily on a longing heart and ring true to the lonely struggles believers often face in a world in which they are alien. I think it is never more true than today and in no place more profoundly disquieting a feeling than America.
Most of us recognize the sudden shift that is happening / has happened under our feet .For most of us over 35 the world is forever changed and we know our children will live in a very different climate from the national and cultural America we were nurtured in. These changes have taken place on many fronts and this is not the point now .For the moment my consideration is that the keen sense of alienation and isolation many of us feel is deep and lasting and that it is intensifying . These words have rang truer and over and over in my mind…We are “a long way from HOME…a long way from home.”
On no level do I find myself more isolated than in the landscape of the household of faith and that is THE most perplexing and ironic of all. What has happened to the people of God? How have we lost clarity in a world where the lines of right and wrong should be the most glaringly defined? How have we become muted by political correctness when we have the words of eternal life which comprise the living water lost and broken souls around us thirst for? How did we lose our way in the cultural narrative when we have a divine and unchanging directive and imperative from the living God…”your are Salt and Light”? What has happened can only be blamed on spiritual leadership. WE preachers and pastors and ministers are to blame. We seem to have NO SHORTAGE of leadership focus or training -yet the great mystery is that we have less true Spiritual LEADERSHIP than ever.
Where did we get the idea that we are to be perpetually IN training ? The military does not do this- You graduate and then join the fight. Now our new leadership says there is not a fight .The new idea of leadership is to become a disciple of some secular guru and for ever be attending conferences or classes or training seminars . How stupid can we be? Do WE build the kingdom by earthy principles ? Does God work by human wisdom? Can lost puppies lead an army? Beloved I confess and cry out …God gives us leaders who are not sold out- distracted- fearful- or two faced. Give us people with clarity -preachers with a backbone – pews filled with leaders not followers and the wind of your Holy Spirit not the empty words of the latest parrot with a book to sell .Give us prophets lest we die- and do not leave us as orphans abandoned like motherless children by ministers who cannot tell the arm of the flesh from the power of the living God!
Four lepers with no credentials (2 Kings 7) came to the brave conclusion and virtually, by the sound of their determined footsteps, set the besieging army of the Syrians to flight – ended a famine and freed the people of God with this battle cry…”Why sit we hear til we DIE ?” – it can be done again . If the leadership has orphaned us to leave us hear to die then lets move forward with out them. Lost puppies- pastor ,elder, teacher , leadership trainer , move out or get out..of the way.
Jesus said it this way “Woe to you when everyone speaks well of you…” Luke 6:26 .To take this red letter warning to the next level we could say “especially beware when your enemy likes what you are doing.”
Here is one huge example. https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/religion/news/2013/10/07/76376/faith-based-providers-and-the-affordable-care-act/ I found this article by the far left organization “Center For American Progress”. It is one of those over funded politically driven , blindly pro everything socialist- think tanks. To my shock I actually caught them in praise of evangelicals and the “Faith Community”. The reason is the KEY role we are playing (unwittingly ) in fleshing out the Affordable Health Care Law a.k.a. Obamacare .
This article surfaced in a search to identify just how many faith based non profit run medical clinics have sprung up in my region in recent years. From Dream Centers to Indigent Specialized care- to Hispanic focused health centers – to a ministry operated out of my own conservative church determined to get in on the action – everyone -it seems is wanting to get the church in the healthcare business. Here is an early blueprint http://nccc.georgetown.edu/documents/faith.pdf
The issue leads us to this probing question…How does the church afford to do this? Well the answer is simple .It takes Government grants and hooks it’s wagon to corporate funding as well- thus becoming a vehicle of God’s justice and the Gospel to people in need. Sounds pretty good until you pause and consider the Center for American Progress take that we are actually aiding in the demise of free market healthcare and in fact- as the article goes on the celebrate – Faith Based Medical Care is helping with another prime goal of the AHCA – School Based Health Clinics . Taking over primary care of our children’s health in School Based Clinics is not only an Obamacare brainchild but a shared goal of Health and Human Services and it’s primary partner of intense interest in children’s health -ye ole Planned Parenthood . http://www.lifenews.com/2012/06/05/planned-parenthood-runs-public-school-based-clinic-in-los-angeles/ . How can this be? The evangelical church has made its harshest critics happy – furthered the demise of private health care- gotten tax payer dollars- made itself compliant with federal oversight – found an unlikely partner in Planned Parenthood -still able to pass the plate for yet more funding from Corporate America AND the occupants of the pew and all the while thinking to itself it is ministering the Gospel ? Guess we have forgotten that WOE means we are in trouble. In this case if we do not have a course correction we are due for a spanking and one well deserved if we are this ignorant . Jesus help us.
After almost five years of working very hard to expose the sorted DNA of the assorted agendas coming against Faith- Family – Education ( Our children and Grand children) I had asked myself this probing question. “Do People (Really ) want to know the facts and what is coming with extreme velocity against them in the present and relentless persistence the the immediate future ?”. Also I pondered the Question “If they know -will they be willing to do something to stop it? “.
I am encouraged to say overwhelmingly – that MOST people indeed want to understand. They desire to know what is behind the efforts to overhaul life as we know it in these days of sweeping “Change”. We have come to believe CHANGE is happening whether we believe IN it or not.
But are we willing to do something? Here is a plan of action !
Pray like your life depends upon it. It does actually !
Educate yourself and those around you. You are a click away from “empowering ” .It has never been easier to research and that window of objective facts may close as the internet becomes more regulated. Stop living off snippets of half digested information.
Stand with People who are Taking a Stand -A three fold cord is not easily broken .Do not let people who are bold enough to engage and to stand- be left to stand alone.
Count the reasons you have to get your head out of self absorbing and time consuming distractions. Assess what you have of value to stand up for-Your family- your faith -your children and grandchildren- their future- your personal freedoms and finances-and recall your accountability to God when this vaporous existence is past.
Who is most absent in the cultural landscape? The pastors and elders and denominational leadership are -but for a very few, missing in action . No ONE has greater responsibility in our culture – which has the fingerprints of God given spiritual freedom- to be heard. Then why this deafening silence from the prophetic front? Smoke out your pastor- your elders- your church /denominational leadership . God holds us accountable. Even MORE if we wear the mantle of servant of the Living God. Are they settling for Thirty Pieces of Silver and selling out you -your family -your future- THE faith?