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Summary: Leonard Sweet in his book Soul Tsunami wrote: "our post modern American culture wants tolerance of all beliefs..." the result is the morphing of Jesus into syncretism. Americans are deeply spiritual and secualar. We cook up our own religion to our taste

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In Jesus Holy Name May 3, 2009

Text: Acts 4:12 Easter IV - Redeemer

“Morphing Jesus in America”

(Begin with a “transformer” as an illustration of how one thing changes into another…. An example of “morphing”.)

Michael Jackson is a great example of one who has chosen to morph his personal identity. He is the poster boy for body morphing as he takes his body as far as it can go through plastic surgery. Body modification is popularized through the aerobic gym culture, or more radical examples with the popularization of body tattooing and body piercing. Our personal identity emerges from the choices we make. We create and display our personal identity on Face Book, or My Space.com, a social network where we can talk to friends while creating a fictitious identity. You can upload personal photos, talk with your friends.

“Some say U.S. America is a morphing nation, a country without a name, the United States of America. USA depends on an influx of diverse populations, a rich mix of cultures has kept the country with no name one of the most creative places on the globe, continually able to reinvent itself and produce dynamic markets. No other nation has made it so easy for aliens from vastly different cultures to become citizens.

Over 40% of new students at New York University in 1996-1999 did not grow up with English as their first language. 13% of USAmericans (higher in California) speak another language at home besides English. USAmerica is a colorful place!

Temple United Methodist Church in San Francisco befriended a Ukrainian refugee woman who works in the most traditional German restaurant, which is owned by an Arab who is married to a Chinese woman who runs a pizza restaurant managed by a Russian. If Big Mac is sold overseas, most likely the onions are from the U.S., the beef patties from Hungary, lettuce from the Ukraine, the bun from Russia, the pickles from Germany, the cheese from Poland and sesame seeds from Mexico. This is the globalization of economic and cultural life in which we live” (Soul Tsunami – Leonard Sweet p. 368)

In the Midwest where I grew up, Lutherans couldn’t date Roman Catholics and dating a Baptist was sort of OK if you didn’t get too serious. The concern today…. Is the person a Christian….. And bi racial marriages are a common occurrence. Our world has changed. In this, the 21st century, Islam is expected to replace Judaism as USAmerican’s second largest religious group. There are already more Buddhists in America than Episcopalians or Presbyterians.

New Age spirituality states that all truths are equal. I heard about a church that refuses to speak against hell. They deny its reality. One of our former members recently moved to a new community along the coast. She has been searching for a new church, family, a place to worship. She has visited countless denominations, the most recent was St. Timothy’s. The people were warm and friendly, activities looked good. In last Sunday’s sermon, the Pastor said, “There is no such thing as sin; the real problem with Jesus was cultural – Gentiles and Jews couldn’t get along. She told me “I wanted to get up and walk out and as I looked around not an eyebrow twitched and no one even shook their head “no”.

TRUTH: SIN is a 3-letter word that is politically incorrect. We’d rather talk about disease or dysfunction. “It’s not my fault.”

A plague was ravaging a tiny village in the outermost bush of a remote African province. A lone missionary, a doctor who had given his life to fighting this particular disease, had gone in with the only cure available. It was made from plants indigenous to the region and could quite easily be reproduced by the villagers themselves just by taking some of the leaves and mixing it with some herbs and spices. When he went in, he found that there wasn’t a single person in the village who was free of the disease.

They all had it and were dying at an alarming rate. Characteristic of the disease was a rash on the back of the neck. All he had to do was treat the rash with the medication and the people could be healed…. But he couldn’t get anybody to let him give them the medication. Despite the fact that people were dying….nobody realized that they were sick. They all had the same rash. There wasn’t anything unusual about it. Since everybody had the same markings on their necks, they just assumed it was normal and nobody realized any different. Nobody realized it was killing them. Sermon Central Acts 4:8-12 Jim Black # 82293

Isn’t that the way it is here. We look around at the world and think, “well, that’s just the way it is.” People either deny the reality of sin or pretend not to deal with “that old biblical theology of ages past…. “

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