Saturday, April 23, 2011
This Is Your Brain on Western Christianity
In the movie A Beautiful Mind the main character played by Russel Crowe is beset by inner imaginings and imaginary characters that convince him of a world that is under attack, a world that only his mad scribblings mathematical diagrams can save. He spends his life becoming more and more enslaved to the fantasy of what his mind presents him with. In my last post we saw Morpheus speaking to Neo about the mind being enslaved and freedom lying in the truth. And how Western Culture has decided to delude itself on the blue pill of fantasy rather than reaching out for an authentic life. Western culture has presented us with a fantasy that has only served to enslave us to it's own desires. We are Russel Crowe, our minds have become enslaved to the American Dream. We need to wake up, arise, and cast off these temporal bonds that drive us to live trapped within ourselves; enslaved to everything people say or think about us; listening to those voices in our heads that have been programmed by society to be driven to live for nothing more than glitz, glamor, and retirement. And the even deeper and darker fears that live inside us, that speak to us constantly, trying to get our ears. Some call it Satan, but by and large it is self. Our own greatest enemy is ourselves. Satan's only power is to deceive and he takes what we think of ourselves, our weaknesses and uses them against us. For if we had no weakness, Satan would have no power, nothing to exploit.
So why do we do the things that we don't want to do? Is that just our lot in life? To keep on sinning so that grace might abound? Do we have no power to REALLY change? There are many who have answered this differently over the ages. Some say we have all the power in the world, that we are a blank slate and can freely choose to do right or wrong. Others say we are powerless to do anything good except that God should make us do it. Others take a middle road that I am to work as hard as I can and God will work with me changing me along the way. I think as much as America was built on a strong work ethic we have lost that when it comes to our spirituality and many other things. We are currently experiencing an obesity epidemic across the nation like never before. I recently read a news article that did a study on the growing obese population and how these obese people viewed themselves. The findings were strikingly shocking. Across the board they all felt like they weighed significantly less than they actually did and that they were normal. It seems that as obesity becomes the norm people don't see anything wrong with it and perceive themselves in a false light. I would suggest that we are also experiencing a spiritual epidemic in Western Christianity. We are hemorrhaging out and no tourniquet can stop the bleed. We have become un-radical and been so spiritually lazy for so long that it has become the norm and we perceive ourselves just like the obese person as being normal when in reality we are way off the mark of authentic Christianity. We have written a how to book on how to grieve the Holy Spirit. I will lay out what I think this authentic Christianity looks like in further posts, but needless to say one only has to go back to the roots of our history to see how far off we are. We only need to look at the lack of impact we have on society anymore. Christianity used to shake empires, now the only thing shaking is our boots when we even think of radically sharing and living out our faith. A lack of a changed life makes Christianity a who cares thing. We have believed in a lie. The airwaves carry the curse of easy believeism. For my next post I am including a paper I wrote on this subject as to how I think we've got here, and how maybe we can get back to a beautiful mind. Towards the end of the movie, Russel Crowe's character chooses to stop listening to his imaginary friends and believe what they would say to him. Though they never went away, they were always present, he ignored them and walked on firmly in what he knew to be the truth. So will sin ever be a part of our condition but one that we don't need to listen to or let rule our lives. We can walk on and become who we were meant to be. More than just an American Dream.