Thursday, March 14, 2013

Our culture and revivalist gimmickry

Last night at church, I was asked if my wife and I might be chaperones for the teens at a "walk for life" event, more or less an "all nighter" spent walking around a track to see how many miles they can complete, whereupon their sponsors will pay a certain amount per mile completed to benefit cancer research.

Driving home, the family got to thinking about this.  Suffice it to say that we've seen our kids (and ourselves) after no sleep, and we know all too well that we'd be making ourselves utterly worthless for the next few days, and all for the sake of contributing $100 or less to cancer research.

And so it came to us.  Have we, as a society, just confessed that we can't pull out a few bucks every once in a while to reduce the chances that someone we love will end their earthly days on a morphine drip?  What ever happened to the original March of Dimes efforts to end polio, where the very presence of a donation jar would be all the reminder needed for many to make a small--or large--sacrifice with the goal of seeing fewer children (and adults) in leg braces and wheelchairs?

It seems that to a great degree, that's exactly what's happened to our society as a whole, and it's even more sadly being reflected in our churches.  The beauty of the Gospel apparently has not been communicated in such a way as to spur action, and therefore we are driven to more and more bizaare ways of getting attention.

Maybe it's time to slow down and remember what our Lord said.  We should pray in secret (Matthew 6:6), avoid oaths and let our yes be yes and our no, no (Matthew 5:37), fast in secret (Matthew 6:17), and to the point of the Walk for Life, not let the right hand know what the left is doing (Matthew 6:3).  In doing so, we will only then "let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in Heaven." (Matthew 5:16). 

We might just see about finding another way of reducing the likelihood of people on that morphine drip.  Real life is too much fun to build around gimmicks.

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