ARE YOUR CONCERNS SPIRITUATL OR SOCIETAL?
Floyd Allen, Editor-in-Chief GOD’S GOOD NEWS GAZETTE
Editor’s Note: I want to take just a moment and elaborate again on how, exactly, I view these Thought Provokers! Their purpose, and my intent!, is to get the reader to go outside their boundaries of comprehension and consider possibilities they may never before have been considered. The concept I present does not necessarily represent my opinion, though quite often it does. The reader’s purpose, if you would, is to contemplate what I present, and, I guess, try to decide whether these ideas may be something they want to re-consider and even adopt as their new opinion on the subject!
With “Cancel Culture;” Facebook; and Twitter our society is, perhaps, more judgmental and unforgiving than it has ever been before. And, unfortunately, this tide of condemnation has not avoided the church. In my nearly sixty-five years as a Christian I have seen people “condemned” for a multitude of grievances that run the gamut from smoking to wearing rings in their nose! In fact, I think I will take an opportunity here to list a few of those things here that I have heard Christians criticize others about, both those who were not fellow Christians – – – and those who were.
|Tattoos||Drinking||Living on Welfare|
|Blue Hair||Green Hair||Being Homeless|
|Body||Wearing Black Clothes||Cussing|
|Piercings||Drug Use||Pink Hair|
Now, as a life-long Christian who raised three teenagers with a multitude of friends who had all kinds of interests and activities; As an educator in various High School settings and as an Adult Sunday School teacher for decades I have worked diligently to direct people away from many of the above items. However, I have always recognized that each and every one of these is a Social Issue, NOT a Spiritual one!!!
While it may appear that our society is becoming more critical, judgmental, and condemning, it is important to know that this is not a 21st Century phenomena but, rather, has been around since the 1st Century Church! The issue, then, is if all of these issues are Societal, what are the Spiritual issues?
In his Internet Article, What Is True Spirituality?
Chip Ingram shares what the Spiritual Issues we should be concerned about really are! Below is an excerpt from that article:
(Author’s Note: This is Based on Roman’s Chapter 12)
Two key elements to describe what is true spirituality, and how to experience it
in everyday life.
Authentic, true spirituality is always rooted in relationship and results in joy.
Whatever happens, my dear brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord. (v. 1)
True spirituality will always be relational. How do you know if a church or a denomination practices true spirituality? Their focus isn’t on religion, a leader, dogma, or rules – it’s on a relationship with Christ. It will always exalt the person of Christ and talk about the richness of the relationship with Him.
True spirituality also has everything to do with producing a by-product of joy. I remember when I got a phone call and found out that my friend’s wife had cancer and was going through chemo. Despite this devastating news, I heard them say, “We can’t explain the peace we have right now.” Were they happy about the cancer? No! But they had an abiding joy and peace that superseded their circumstances.
True spirituality is not about the external.
It’s about the internal— connecting with God’s heart by means of the Holy Spirit dwelling in us. Religious traditions – which are external – can actually be harmful to our spiritual health. Paul warns against this type of false spirituality that is focused on rules, laws, traditions and self-effort.
Watch out for those dogs, those evildoers, those mutilators of the flesh. For it is we who are the circumcision, we who serve God by his Spirit, who boast in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh… (v. 2-3)
Paul says, “Watch out for those dogs,”
referring to the Jewish Christians who were externally focused. They believed that in order to be spiritual and please God they had to believe in Christ and follow all of their rules and rituals. By doing this, they negated what Jesus accomplished on the cross and even hindered others from coming to know Him.
One of the biggest mistakes we can make is to define our own, or someone else’s, spiritual maturity based on certain external “boundary markers.”
What a Dynamic Reality we have shared with us here! From a Spiritual standpoint what we really have to be concerned about is summed up in Matthew 22:34-40 – 34 But when the Pharisees had heard that he had put the Sadducees to silence, they were gathered together. 35 Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying, 36 Master, which is the great command-ment in the law? 37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
The GOOD NEWS here is the fact that the two greatest Spiritual Issues, per Jesus, does not have a “Thou Shalt Not” attached to them. Rather, they can be summed up with three much more palatable words: Thou Shalt Love. As Mark McCuen, and now so many others would say, “Love God, Love Others!”