Godless America?

Godless_AmericaI saw this on the cover on a recent Charisma Magazine and, honestly, I groaned in my spirit. And I groan because I used to think like just like this. I’ve since found it to be a major distraction and actually counterproductive to advancing the Kingdom of God in this country…or any other country.

I’m all for defending religious liberty (for all religions), and I have nothing against the author of this book. I probably agree with a lot of what he says, and I dearly love my country and the freedoms we enjoy.  I love our history and our basic cultural values. Amen.

But I’m honestly puzzled by the American church’s narcotic-like addiction to Fox News and its obsession with trying to make our nation “Christian” again while spending little or no energy on actually representing the Kingdom of God.

Oh, by the way…America is not the Kingdom of God–nor is our Constitution, 24-hour news channels, talk radio or political parties. It’s not liberal, conservative, left winged or right winged.

And the “traditional values” we hold dear aren’t necessarily Kingdom values.

Can God bless a Godless America…what???

 “Our nation stands on a precipice. Freedom hangs in the balance. We live in a postmodern and post-God nation.”

This statement is from an article that the author wrote here. Again, I’m not trying to pick on him or his article, in particular. I’m trying to point out our deeply entrenched assumptions about Christianity that we hold on to in America and how it expresses itself when challenged by culture. Assumptions that should be examined in the light of Jesus Christ, not by our traditions.

So, is this actually true? And is God in the business of blessing or judging nations?

Jesus seemed to think that the sun shines and the rain falls on the just as well as the unjust (Matt.5:45). News flash! We’re not Old Testament Israel. Welcome to the New Covenant!

And here’s another news flash. God has not left our public schools just because our children don’t parrot a canned prayer every morning before classes. To be clear, I’m not against our kids parroting canned prayers in school. I’m just saying that this has nothing to do with whether God is in our schools or not. If our children or their teachers know the Lord, God is in our schools.

I wrote about this here and here. And this is just a case in point in how mixed up our s0-called “traditional Christianity” really is.

I understand that probably many of you will not like to hear what I have to say. But we must consider the truth in it. And embracing truth over our sentimental but non-working religious traditions can be liberating. 🙂

So let’s just rip the bandage all the way off, shall we? The traditional Western (American) version of Christianity is broken. Can we just admit that it doesn’t work anymore? Oh, religious people who like to be entertained or need to feel good about themselves may still be filling our buildings, but the trend is very clear. People are leaving our “good ol’ time religion” by the droves–especially, young people. I wrote about this in more depth here.

What we should be contending for…

Jesus warned us against the “leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod” (Mark 8:15). He was talking about the insidious nature of the religious spirit and political spirit. The American church needs to be delivered from this unholy union–from her addiction to and codependency on government to save her.

We need to learn how to put our trust in Christ. And I am not talking about abdicating our Kingdom responsibilities. Quite the opposite. Our world is actually waiting for someone who looks, acts and loves like Jesus. And that’s our job, by the way (1 John 4:17).

And I’m not saying that some of us shouldn’t be involved in politics, contend for our civil liberties or any of those things. I’m saying that when we start proclaiming fear and doom and condemn a whole nation to perdition, prophesying God’s judgment, we’ve left the heart of the Father. We don’t know what spirit we are of (Luke 9:54-56). And we’re certainly not doing what Jesus told us to do.

Has American actually become “godless?”

In some ways, maybe. But the better question is, what have they actually left?

I submit that most Americans are not rejecting Christ at all.  They actually haven’t met Him yet. What they’re rejecting is our self-righteous moral construct we’ve called Christianity. And we’re not trying to deceive them; we’ve bought into this religious veneer too. But our heart knows better…and longs from something deeper.

But the truth be told, “church” as we know it, has failed to transform our culture, save our marriages, or actually make people more like Jesus. Studies pretty much have proven this. But more importantly, our culture knows it.

So just maybe the world that Jesus loves so much He died for has tuned out our slick marketing campaigns and evangelistic gimmicks. They have tried our vitriolic, politically polarizing, spiritually anemic, self-righteous finger-pointing, nationalistic version of Christianity and it was found wanting.

They have moved on. Maybe we should too. Just saying…

What are we actually afraid of?

Okay, let’s talk about our Christian liberties. Consider that most of the known world was evangelized under the most anti-Christian, repressive and brutal government in human history. Paul told us to pray for our government, even saying that God put them there and that we should honor them (Rom.13:1-6). And, by the way, he was talking about Nero, one of the most brutal, possibly insane, Caesars of the Roman Empire.

It’s interesting that the early church did not try to change the Roman Empire or make it a “Christian nation.” Yet they did expand the Kingdom from within and evangelized most of the known world in their lifetime. Just a thought…

From what I can make out, we seem to be fighting to make our country a nice place for “good Christians” to raise our kids, make lots of money and live comfy lives in the suburbs where people who don’t look, talk and believe like us won’t bother us.

So, maybe, rather than waste our energy demonizing the Obama administration, the government, those evil liberal secularists…just maybe we should look at ourselves instead.

Okay, why am I talking about this here?

So…why am I talking about this on a blog about God’s radical grace and living in the Father’s embrace? Exactly for that reason! Because I see the Father’s beloved–Jesus’ glorious bride–pouring all her energy into things that will never capture human hearts or win any arguments in our culture. I actually see these things driving people away from Christ, not endearing them to Him. So can we please wake up. It doesn’t work. And Jesus didn’t even do these things, so why do we think we should?

Beloved, I pray your eyes are opened. Let’s get on with our Father’s business. And His business is “proving His good and  acceptable and perfect will” for all mankind, which He means to prove through us. That is, through those who’ve been transformed by love, those who have had their minds renewed and brought into sync with the mind of Christ (Rom.12:2; 1 Cor.2:16) instead of the talking heads on Fox News.

Finally, Jesus said that He was sending us the same way the Father sent Him (John 20:21). So, how was that? That might be a good study to undertake. Let’s take a cue from Jesus, remove the distractions, tune out the TV and radio, tune into the Spirit and be about our Father’s business. It’s about time.

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About Mel Wild

God's favorite (and so are you), a son and a father, happily married to the same beautiful woman for 36 years. We have three incredible adult children. My passion is pursuing the Father's heart in Christ and giving it away to others. My favorite pastime is being iconoclastic and trailblazing the depths of God's grace. I'm also senior pastor of Cornerstone Church in Wisconsin.
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19 Responses to Godless America?

  1. “Let’s get on with our Father’s business.” Not our agenda, not our judgment, not our politics. We need to empty ourselves (die to self) so we can be filled with God’s business – love, grace and mercy. And yes, I agree, it’s about (His) time! 😉

  2. This is possibly your best article so far, and possibly the best blog I’ve read this year, Mel. The only word i would change is at the start where you say “groan.” Personally, I’d change that word to *yawns* *Yawns some more*….For me, I’m totally fed up of the church judging society. We need to judge ourselves.

    It’s the same in this country, albeit not as pronounced on the news – as we’re totally humanist now. Anyway, the church really needs to get a grip. It’s a simple matter of take the log out of your own eye….( i include myself in this…)

    No-one wants to go to church over here because:
    – it’s become like Egypt, a system PURPOSELY designed to keep the masses in bondage
    – it’s boring

    The root issue (and I’m talking about pentecostal / Charismatic circles btw) is because the ‘Christians’ do not know the Holy Spirit – though they believe they do. It’s the same problem Paul saw in Ephesus.

    Father is busy gardening though. He’s busy taking the elder brother out of His sons (including me), so that when the lost come looking to the Church they’ll meet the Father at the doors and not the Elder brother.

    I like what Danny Silk says too – there’s a revolution coming in the church – and the casualties are gonna be the Christians.

    Peace,

    John

    Even if you go to Hell, where can you be that’s actually Godless? (Ps 139) Father is everywhere. We just need to open our eyes.

    What can separate us from the love of Father?….Neither….

    Jesus holds ALL things together….

    How does the author measure ‘Godlessness?’ Is there a scale? Maybe it’s similar to the holiness scale, you know, the one where you start on 0% holiness, join the white knuckle club at church, and work your way up to 100% holiness. Who knows….

    You know what, I reckon that some Christians are so miserable, see if you cast them out of a demon, I reckon the demon might thank you. Just saying…

    • Mel Wild says:

      Thanks John. And amen. What you said here…”The root issue (and I’m talking about pentecostal / Charismatic circles btw) is because the ‘Christians’ do not know the Holy Spirit – though they believe they do.” That too often seems to be true. I’ve noticed a trend over the last 20 years where Pentecostal/Charismatics trying to take the life of the Spirit out of the services, or going the opposite direction and chasing after phenomenon instead of being a son in the Father’s embrace. Just another version of “elder brother” Christianity. Then when the talk shows and 24-hour news channels came out, it was like drug dealers hooking every Christian keeping them glued to the pundits, Rush Limbaugh, etc. Even Charisma magazine has gotten more political and polarizing. Imagine if Christians spent the same amount of time encountering the Father’s love and being led by the Spirit.

      The good news is that this version of church is broken. Hallelujah! We don’t have to think it works anymore. We are free to change, take a long hard look at what we do and seek the Kingdom afresh. So, praise God, the Father is gardening. These are exciting times in the Kingdom of God.

      Btw you cracked me up on the demons thanking them. LOL! That’s good. 🙂 Blessings.

  3. “From what I can make out, we seem to be fighting to make our country a nice place for “good Christians” to raise our kids, make lots of money and live comfy lives in the suburbs where people who don’t look, talk and believe like us won’t bother us.”

    Brilliant sentence, vv true. We only like those who look like us, and remind us of us.

    • Mel Wild says:

      🙂 Thanks. Love casts out fear. And as soon as we see ourselves as a beloved son in the Father’s family, we will see others this way too, then we will not only embrace but cherish the wisdom and beauty of the diversity of those around us that He loves. Because now we see with His eyes.

  4. N. says:

    “I submit that most Americans are not rejecting Christ at all. They actually haven’t met Him yet. What they’re rejecting is our self-righteous moral construct we’ve called Christianity.”

    Ah, I’ve thought the same thing as well. Many people are “rejecting” Christ because they’re not getting the full picture of who He is, and the vast majority of us havent truly seen how wonderful he is due to old religious traditions…preaching about doom and gloom and hell-fire…reducing people down to mere sinners…thats a turn off.

    • Mel Wild says:

      Yes, amen. What they get is religion and politics. And the religious and political spirit are the meanest, most ungracious and loveless spirits of all–keeping us lulled into a false relationship with Christ. It polarizes and divides, keeping us angry all the time, or fearful and hopeless about the future, making enemies out of the people Jesus loves. Both feed our pride and keep us bound up as spiritual orphans. Paul said he couldn’t even talk to the Corinthians about spiritual things because of this divisiveness (1 Cor.3:1-3). And they thought they had it all together because they had all the gifts of the Spirit operating. But they were carnal, not spiritual. I think we’re in the same situation here.

      Again, hopefully, this is a wake-up call and God’s beloved will finally be about our Father’s business. Blessings.

  5. Cindy Powell says:

    Yes. And amen. You just get it. Thanks Mel 🙂

    • Mel Wild says:

      Thanks, you’re welcome. 🙂 And If I get it, it’s because the Father’s love has set me free from this insidious distraction. For when we see Him we finally find out who we are! Blessings.

  6. John Cummuta says:

    Right on, Mel. I’ve been saying the same out here to folks. The problem many American Christians have with America is that it’s a democratic republic and not a Christian theocracy. If we want the culture to be more like the Bible, we just need to introduce more Americans to their heavenly Father.

    • Mel Wild says:

      Yup, since love requires free people, we shouldn’t want it any other way…and that includes people who don’t agree with us or look like us. That’s the beauty of a free society. What the Father has is what people are actually looking for. That’s why I don’t think God’s worried about America. When we get free of all this distraction, people might actually listen to us for a change because we actually care about them as people, no matter what their lifestyle or party affiliation. And you’re exactly right. Our job is to express the Father’s heart and connect them with Him. He’s amazing at changing hearts. And that works in any culture. Thanks for chiming in. Good to hear from you. Miss you and family. 🙂

  7. jeffrossman says:

    Preach!!

  8. TK says:

    This is great, but I fear many people will have a hard time understanding how they are supposed to accept people who are different, in religious belief, lifestyle or any other characteristic while knowing the ‘right way’ to live.

    I think a lot of people who read your blog are critical thinkers who aren’t afraid to question and grow their relationship with Divinity. I can think of many people who, if they were to believe what you say in the first place, would still think they were right, and feel compelled to spread that truth. Anyone who refused to listen would immediately be looked down upon.

    • Mel Wild says:

      I understand what you’re saying, TK. And you make a good point. But, the truth is, if they actually “see” (through the Father’s eyes) what I’m saying and believed like I do, they wouldn’t feel compelled make others believe they’re right or look down on those who don’t believe like them. That is symptomatic of religious orphan thinking. And I include a lot of American Christianity in that boat. I don’t know if I can adequately explain what I mean, but God doesn’t do this at all; Jesus never did this. He never once tried to prove He was right nor did He look down on people different than Him (which was basically everybody!) He doesn’t force or manipulate; He compels by love (2 Cor.5:16). He showed them His Father, and when a human heart finally encounters the Father’s love, he or she finally resonates–if I can use that word here without offending religious Christians 🙂 –at the deepest level of their being and all this other stuff becomes irrelevant. Only grace and love remains.

      I don’t need to convince anyone of anything. I just need to show them the Father in me. And we need not be afraid of people different than us, we need to understand them and love them with the Father’s love. This is what Jesus did. Of course, in order to do this, we have to receive it ourselves first. Everything starts there.

      Thanks for your insightful comments, as always. 🙂

  9. Kathee says:

    I agree with what you’re saying. There is only one thing that bothers me when I read things like this. It seems that whenever someone is given a prophesy or word, the first thing is always excitement and the desire to share it with all. But it usually quickly turns from the joy of understanding to the determination that everyone who doesn’t think like this, go to the same church, live in the same place, same political thought or whatever is suddenly wrong. Isn’t acceptance of all something that includes people with a different interpretation of the word, as long as they are trying to do good and not evil in God’s name. Jesus accepted those who were shunned by society. I feel we can share what we are given but can’t determine that someone else’s thoughts and practices are a mistake or wrong. Tell me where I’m going wrong on that?

    • Mel Wild says:

      Hi Kathee! Glad you got on here! I think you’re spot on. We’re looking for everyone to see what we see, so we tend to demonize people who don’t think like us instead of trying to understand their heart and find where we have common ground. Most people want to do good, even though they may go about it differently than us. It is possible to disagree without demonizing people. And it’s possible to find common ground that benefits everyone. That’s why I had to stop watching political talk shows. Neither party is actually listening to the one another. It’s always about promoting party agenda over what’s best for the people. The same is too often true in the Church. We divide over doctrinal interpretation. Hey, we’re all on the same side! And that’s my main point here. Political agendas, our government, our causes…are not our salvation. Jesus is! The Kingdom of God works invisibly in ANY environment. We can’t rightfully say America is “godless” because we are here. We are the light and salt of America. The same holds true for believers in other countries.

      Thanks for chiming in! Comment anytime you want. Much appreciated. See you in August. 🙂

  10. JAD says:

    This is a great article… I am a Christian, a female (wife/mom), African American, and a Democrat! Many (not all) African Americans tend to be socially liberal and religiously conservative.
    So on to my comment… I agree with most of your thoughts. I am often perplexed by people who are “fake” Christians-people who can always tell you whose going to hell, extra mean, but don’t show the love of Christ to others.
    Abortion, homosexuality, and a ton of other things (lying, cheating, stealing, LUST, need I go on??) are ALL sins. But I think the average Christian IN AMERICA just want to tell folks how bad they are, but don’t really believe that the Jesus they talk about or Bible they claim to read can really CHANGE LIVES! And part of that is because they believe Jesus was real (in most cases), but has not allowed Him to changed their lives and address their issues.
    I agree with the comment from one of the readers about the Holy Spirit. Too many Christians have NO IDEA about the holy spirit, and think that the healing, transforming, delivering, restoring, life changing spirit of God does not exist, and that is not only far from true, but sad. It’s a sad thing to be a Christian and not know that our God can cover and DELIVER folks from sins, fix marriages, heal the sick, comfort the grieving, regulate minds, change hearts, and do ANY OTHER THING you may STAND in need of! So because I’ve seen it and lived it, I believe it. The problem is too many people have’t seen it.
    People have to meet Jesus, and allow for the free flow of the Holy Spirit in church worship, personal praise and in every area of their lives! And once they do, all the churches that are struggling will fill up! All the churches that do that allow the Holy Spirit and teach the word of God haven’t seen a decrease but a increase.
    When Christians LIVE this, it shows others how to have peace in the midst of a storm, and THAT draws people to Christ.
    God bless!

    • Mel Wild says:

      Amen, amen and AMEN! I think every right-wing, Fox news addicted, card-carrying Republican who calls themselves a Christian should read what you just said (And I should know because I used to be one!). Better yet, actually hear your heart. And, again, it’s not about Democrat or Republican, conservative, liberal, right wing, left wing, etc. It’s about seeking to really understanding one another and valuing what others viewpoints are who may have a different opinion than you.

      And you are spot on about the “fake” Christians. John said if we hate our brother and don’t demonstrate love, we don’t know God and are in darkness (1 John 2:9, 11; 3:15; 4:20). Not that we aren’t saved, but we’re certainly deceived.

      JAD, you’re one of many wonderful examples that prove our country is NOT godless. And you’re a great response to this doom and gloom article. Yes, there is a lot of bad that needs to change, welcome to the world! But there is also a lot of good things. Imagine what would happen if we stopped judging one other, actually started to listen to one another, and all focused on what IS good, what is the common ground, learning to really love one another. That would be major revival! 🙂

      Thanks for your awesome comments. Blessings to you.

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