Summary: Christians must be Salt and Light in the World.

The Lighthouse

Matthew 5:13-16

"You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how will it be made salty again? It is good for nothing anymore, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men. [14] You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. [15] Nor do men light a lamp, and put it under the peck-measure, but on the lampstand; and it gives light to all who are in the house. [16] Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven."

Last Fall, after we unpacked our boxes from our move to Monterey, Susan & discussed how we ought to be storing some supplies just in case the Y2K prophets of doom were right. We'd meant to stash a can of tuna or two away each week throughout the year, but never got around to it. With just a few months until the dreaded collapse of civilization, we knew we should be doing something, but to be honest with you, we never made adequate preparation. As you know, it turned out, we got away with our procrastination. The Y2K crisis was little more than Y2Yawn.

Today, with nine months of the 21st Century under our belt, I have to tell you I'm more concerned about a coming crisis than I was this time last year. No, I'm not going to suggest you start saving bottled water and spam, it isn't that kind of crisis. But it is a real potential problem nonetheless.

Those warning us of a possible Y2K computer glitch last year, had us so focused on the possibility of an acute crisis that our attention was diverted from a chronic problem that's been developing for years. Perhaps the moral erosion was so slow that we've not noticed the shift, but lately I've seen caution flags everywhere. Frankly, I'm concerned about the direction society is drifting toward in the Third Millennium.

Unanchored, we are drifting with the common current, without clear direction into uncharted waters. Because we've discarded the notion of absolute truth, we're navigating these waters without a compass or the North Star to guide us. What lies ahead is not an adventure floating down a lazy river, like Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn enjoyed, there are rough waters ahead-we're at peril.

What words would you use to describe the era we're in? Leonard Sweet, the E. Stanley Jones Professor of Evangelism at Drew University, in Madison, NJ. calls this age, "post-modern." Personally, I don't like the term. It tells what this age comes after, but it doesn't describe the age. Erwin McManus, the Lead Pastor of Mosaic in Los Angeles calls the age "hyper-modern." "This [age] is not a disconnect with the modern world," McManus said, "it the acceleration of modern assumptions taken to an extreme." Personally, I like James Parker's term. Parker, the Professor of Culture and World View at Southern Baptist Seminary in Louisville, KY, called this era a "post-human" age.

At the end of the modern era, mankind was wrestling with who God is, and even questioned His existence. The debate has moved from the divine to the human. Now people are asking, "What is human life?" In the process, there has been a subtle de-humanizing of mankind.

Are people just another species of animals, or is there something special about the human race? The Christian world view has an answer rooted in Genesis 1:27 that says, "And God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them." (NASB) We affirm that we did not evolve from animals. Christians know that God created us. He created us in His own image. We are special because we are image bearers of God.

That is our world view, but it is a minority view.

In 1985, Simon and Schuster published Phil Donahue's book entitled, The Human Animal. I'm happy to report to you that it is out of print today, but the message of its title is still in vogue. Humans are just another animal.

But even if a person doesn't wrestle with the sacredness of human life, advancements in science have led everyone to ponder the question, "What is human, anyway?"

What about cyborgs? Are cyborgs human? Cyborgs are partially human and partially machines. They are partially born and partially made. Since I am a cyborg, a human with an implant in my larynx that allows me to speak using one paralyzed vocal cord and one healthy cord, I'd have to answer yes. Should scientists invade the body with technology to help us speak? I'm glad my doctor did. Should they implant pacemakers to help regulate our hearts? Why not? What about an artificial heart? Sure. What about an artificial, programable brain? Why is that a line we're not willing to cross?

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