Sunday, November 19, 2017

Nov 20 - Revelation 4:11


“You are worthy, our Lord and God,
to receive glory and honor and power,
for you created all things, and

by your will they existed

and were created.”

Revelation 4:11


Have you been worried about our modern American culture in recent years?


So have I.


See if any of these sound familiar …


·         Increasing pace and increasing debt.

·         Growing stress and accelerating busyness.

·         Anxiety. Fear. Depression. And way too much self-medication.

·         Rampant secularism, individualism, materialism, and cynicism.

·         Greater divides, shrillness, and intolerance.


Is there hope? Well … if there’s a God, then there’s always hope!!!


To reorient our actions and our hope, I’ve spent the last week or two introducing you to the book, The Benedict Option. It offers, as its subtitle proclaims, A Strategy for Christians in a Post-Christian Nation.


Now, I know that we all want to jump immediately to answers and quick-fix-techniques, but before we know where to go from here, it’s important to know how we got here. Thus, author Rod Dreher starts his book with a review of the last seventeen hundred years of philosophical history. (Wait! Don’t let the word philosophy scare you! This is just a summary of how and why people think the way they do.)


In picture form, here’s the quick summary of the last seventeen hundreds of thought in the West.



The picture on the left represents the first thousand years of Christendom. I’ll give you a quote to describe what this looked like in just a minute, but in general, God was viewed as so present and alive that the Lord was clearly understood as the center of all things. And man, on the other hand, was on the periphery. In fact, if humans were to find purpose and meaning (ultimately and exclusively), it was understood that it came only from whatever God-the-Creator ordained. That was the first thousand years.


Over the next seven hundred years – step-by-step – God has been philosophically pushed out of the center of the dominant worldviews in the West. The result? We now are dominated by a modern secular worldview. (It’s something like the picture on the right. Trumpeted by the likes of Abraham Maslow and his hierarchy of needs, this modern way of thinking tells us that the highest priority – the center of the circle – ought to be the self. It’s all about self-fulfillment and self-actualization. The individual is preeminent. It’s viewed as oppressive to say that there is an objective Truth. Thus, God – especially, the traditional view of God – is increasingly at the periphery.  


If that sounds familiar, I want to paint for you a picture of a more vibrant past. To do that, let me close today with an extended quote from Rod Dreher’s The Benedict Option …


[For the first thousand years of Christendom, people] lived in what philosopher Charles Taylor calls an “enchanted world”—one so unlike ours that we struggle to imagine it. … Medievals experienced the divine as far more present in their daily lives. … In the mind of medieval Christendom, the spirit world and the material world penetrated each other … Medievals experienced everything in the world sacramentally … effecting a real transformation… [T]hey believed that God was present everywhere and revealed Himself to us through people, places, and things…


The only reason the material world had any meaning at all was because of its relationship to God. … Truth was guaranteed by the existence of God … [Thus,] medieval man did not see himself as fundamentally separate from the natural order; rather, the alienation he felt was an effect of the Fall, a catastrophe … His task was to join himself to the love of God and harmonize his own steps with the great cosmic dance.


In Christ’s Love,

a guy who’s tired of

dancing the world’s dance

(disco was king

when I was young,

now it’s the Shmoney,

the NaeNae and the Twerk).

No, I’m a guy who’s tired

of doing the world’s dance,

and I’m ready to dance

God’s cosmic dance

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