“May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” — Galatians 5:14 NIV
Be Quiet. It’s Week 4! This week let’s be still and silent for 4 minutes. Remember that God is present with you, delighted that you showed-up to be with Him! Turn your thoughts toward Him and surrender to His love. When your thoughts get distracted, don’t fight. Simply turn your thoughts again to Him! Breath slowly and relax.
Scripture. 1 Corinthians 2:2 NIV “For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.” Galatians 5:14. NIV “May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.”
Meditation. The relationship between religion, culture and government has been charged with perplexity throughout human history. It got really spicy when Jesus came along and preached the Gospel of the Kingdom of the Heavens in the Roman Empire. How about our current era in the United States? Do you think about the nexus of Christianity, culture, and politics? Do you ever suspect the Crucified Jesus of scripture has been gradually “Americanized”? To “Americanize” means “to bring something under the political, cultural, or commercial influence of the United States”. (Merriam-Webster).
An Americanized version of Jesus subtly presents Him as the means to comfort, success, popularity, and greatness. In this version, His mission is for everyone to have the best life possible as He supplies power and influence. An Americanized church engages in creating “feel good experiences” to attract and retain numbers, or engages in culture wars, fighting for political and moral principles they deem worthy. Both are askew from following the crucified Jesus. Our Savior modeled resistance to severe temptation (Matthew 4:1-11), told us we’d have trouble in this world (John 16:33) and said whoever does not carry their cross and follow Him cannot be His disciple (Luke 14:27). Suffering is not an option when we’re faithful to Christ.
Maybe the real difference in American churches today isn’t between MAGAs and Liberals, anti-vaxxers and CDC adherents, or social justice seekers and CRT shunners. Maybe the real difference is between those who follow the Americanized Jesus or the Crucified Jesus.
Question to Ponder. What are your initial reactions to what you just read?
Connect with God. Look up the scriptures cited. Listen as God reveals Jesus in them. Note other scriptures that come to mind that support or counter the idea of an Americanized Jesus and church.
Connect with Others. Have a conversation with another Christian on this topic. Discuss it here by adding a comment.