Summary: Rather than being a shoddy imitation, we need to emulate the Book of Acts Church, unintimidated by others.
The Curse of the Cargo Cult
2 TImothy 3:1 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.
2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,
3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,
4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;
5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
We are in a perilous time!
We are in a dangerous time!
We are endeavoring to placate the imperiled.
We are telling people that everything is all right when everything is not all right.
Perilous times: troubling times, fierce times, difficult times.
We are in such a day - “A day in which it is difficult to know what to do”.
Parents are confused.
Pastors are perplexed.
Schools are frustrated.
A perfect storm of worldliness and sinfulness and desire for freedom from all rules and restrictions.
It is not that we don’t care, or want to see bad things happen, we just don’t know what to do!!
Denying the power thereof!
Not simply the power of the faith itself, but its power to exert any influence in their lives.
There is no restraint on their own passions or carnal desires.
It is all about appearance, without an understanding of what is really needed to make the Christian faith work.
The Curse of the Cargo Cult.
First noticed in the late 19th century, the concept of the cargo cult came to prominence in the years immediately following WWII.
As the Japanese and American armies began to island hop their way to victory and defeat across the Pacific, they literally took over these small territories from people who had little or no contact with the Western world.
In the midst of this war, there was a collision of cultures that was taking place.
In areas such as Vanauatu, across Melanesia, from New Guinea to the Solomon Islands to Tanna's archipelago, the New Hebrides, dozens of unconnected communities, thousands of miles apart and speaking unrelated languages, seemed spontaneously to generate the same set of bizarre beliefs.
The classic account was by the Australian anthropologist Peter Lawrence who went out to the Madang district of New Guinea in 1949 to conduct field research into the traditional social relations of people who, despite colonial rule, were still living much as they had in the recent Stone Age. Lawrence gradually discovered that his presence in Madang had become woven into an extraordinary complex of beliefs. Persistent rumours abounded that a cargo ship was about to arrive in the harbour with huge consignments of goods for him, and the local people asked him to help them supervise the clearing of an airstrip. When he asked what the airstrip was for, he was told that cargo planes were about to arrive bringing tinned meat, rice, tools, tobacco and a machine for making electric light. And when he asked who was sending this cargo, they replied 'God in Heaven'.
Cargo cult activity in the Pacific region increased significantly during and immediately after World War II, when large amounts of manpower and materials were brought in by the Japanese and American combatants, and this was observed by the residents of these regions. When the war ended, the military bases were closed and the flow of goods and materials ceased. In an attempt to attract further deliveries of goods, followers of the cults engaged in ritualistic practices such as building crude imitation landing strips, aircraft and radio equipment, and mimicking the behaviour that they had observed of the military personnel operating them.
Notable examples of cargo cult activity include the setting up of mock airstrips, airports, offices, and dining rooms, as well as the fetishization and attempted construction of Western goods, such as radios made of coconuts and straw. Believers may stage "drills" and "marches" with sticks for rifles and use military-style insignia and national insignia painted on their bodies to make them look like soldiers, thereby treating the activities of Western military personnel as rituals to be performed for the purpose of attracting the cargo. Cult behaviors usually involved mimicking the day to day activities and dress styles of US soldiers, such as performing parade ground drills with wooden or salvaged rifles. They carved headphones from wood and wore them while sitting in fabricated control towers. They waved the landing signals while standing on the runways. They lit signal fires and torches to light up runways and lighthouses. In a form of sympathetic magic, many built life-size replicas of airplanes out of straw and created new military-style landing strips, hoping to attract more airplanes. The cult members thought that the foreigners had some special connection to the deities and ancestors of the natives, who were the only beings powerful enough to produce such riches. Interestingly, there are no reports of villagers mimicking the Japanese army. It was quickly understood by villagers that the white (US) tribe had won the conflict.