Summary: Reflections on this text and our pluralistic culture with quotes from John Stott, Leonard Sweet "Soul Tsunami". We are not living in the world our parents grew up in. Biotechnology, genetic engineering, artifical life, nano technology are all around but
Lent V John 12:20-21 Redeemer
In Jesus Holy Name March 29, 2009
“Are People Still Asking to See Jesus?”
When I was a kid in the 1950’s people’s minds and actions were saturated and wrapped in Christian values. The worship of God and honesty were important values. People knew bible stories. If you breathed air, you knew who a “Pharisee” was. You knew what it meant to call a city “Sodom and Gomorrah.”
Parents were worried that the gyrations of Elvis Presley would corrupt their teens. Now parents worry their daughter can take the morning after pill … and never tell.
They worry their pre teens will text nude picture to their friends and never know that it’s a crime to post pornography on the web.
Christianity is now culturally, socially and religiously disestablished. Your computer’s spell check proves it. Windows 95 did not know the books of the bible or recognize biblical names. Prayer before basket ball games in Illinois, even between Christian schools.
In 1998 the pastoral team at Trinity Church in Columbus, Ohio, “retreated” to Indianapolis for the NCAA “March Madness” basketball playoffs. The guy with the orange hair and home made John 3:16 sign was under the basked at the other end of the court. Seated behind the pastoral team were tow well dressed couples debating what John 3:16 meant. One guessed it was an ad for a new restaurant in town. Another thought John 3:16 might be a signal to someone to meet at the John on the 3rd floor, stall 16. Talk was clueless. They had no idea.
Christian faith was never universal in America. But there was a broad consensus that our values still depended and rested upon the Ten Commandments and that God really did exist. Today Science has replaced religion as the basis of social morality. Pitrim Sorokim, founder of the Harvard University Department of Society notes that when something other than religious faith underpins morality, which underpins society, the society begins to crumble. He died in 1968. (Leonard Sweet SoulTsunami)
We are not living in the world our parents grew up in.
Biotechnology, genetic engineering, artificial life, bionic medicine, nanotechnology, microsurgery… these are the flagship technologies of the 21st century. My 7th and 8th graders have I pods and I phones with thousands of songs and several bible verses all in a hand held nano computer.
We are leaping into a new world of biology and technology; yet crawling backward into the caves of old world philosophies and spiritual “paganism” and the worship of Mother Earth. Issues of abortion, genetic engineering, euthanasia and designer genetics are all part of the bio technological revolution. As disciples of Jesus Christ we may be tempted to shelter ourselves behind our church doors….keeping Jesus to ourselves… We can not jump ship. In the motto of the Coast Guard:
“You have to go out…. You do not have to come back.”
When the astronauts are preparing for their work on the space station they spend hours practicing their every activity in zero gravity. They must remain tethered to a stable object or they and their tools (as has happened) will literally float away. Our culture is trying but it can not live under conditions of zero morality.
What will again tether our moral compass? No… who will again tether our moral compass? It’s not a new question. The gospel of John tells us that there were some Greeks who had come to Jerusalem for the Passover celebration. Their quest? “We want to see Jesus.” Please note that upon their arrival in Jerusalem they did not ask…”where’s the temple?” Everyone could see the temple.
Today, people are not asking… ‘where’s your church’… Churches are visible all over the city. They are asking… “Why are you so kind? Why are you so accepting? Why are you so honest and trustworthy…” Your answer…. “I’m a disciple of Jesus.”
“People in our culture need hard evidence that following Jesus really makes a difference.” (Reinventing Evangelism Donald Posterski p. 31)
He writes: “living the Christian life is like a 3 legged stool. If one leg is missing there is no support. The key to reaching the spiritually hungry is: 1) prayer 2) care 3) communicate.
Pray: When Jesus was earthbound he developed a reputation for being a man of prayer. To pray is to say, “I believe. I believe God exists. I believe he wants to hear from me. Prayer acknowledges that I believe he is my creator.
When we pray we enter into a partnership with God, in the process of making him known. Prayer for specific people prompts God to speak to their heart. The Holy Spirit arouses interest in spiritual matters, convicts of sin and opens their heart and mind to see and hear about God’s love in Jesus.