What goes around comes around. I’m not talking about the law of sowing and reaping. I’m talking about styles. My kids wear clothes my wife and I would have worn back in the 80’s. If I had kept them (and could still fit in them), I’d still be cool. But I didn’t, I can’t, and I’m not.
Anyway, this is true about philosophies as well. There was a popular one in the 18th century when our country was founded. It’s called Deism. Deism basically teaches that there is a transcendent, powerful God, but that he has created a closed world in which he is very much uninvolved. He created the world, spun it like a top, and stands back to watch as it spins, slows, and eventually topples. Deism was essentially a re-working of an even more ancient philosophy called Epicureanism. I believe it’s now in its third formulation here in modern-day America.
Ask most Americans and they will tell you they “believe in” God (92% according to Gallup). But they will also tell you they don’t go to church (40%), pray, or think much about him throughout the year. Well why would you? If God is distant and remote, why get out of bed on Sunday morning?
And yet you and I, who have come to know a very personal and involved God, wonder how our fellow Americans can miss him. There are signs pointing to him all over the place. Ever wonder why we want to help in Syria (even though we can’t agree on how)? Because there is a God-given innate morality in us that wants to right wrongs. We see a growth in all kinds of “spirituality” in America – because there’s an innate desire in humans to find our creator. And, of course, there is the beauty of the world around us. All of these signs point to God.
Unfortunately, these signs are easy to ignore. Says N.T. Wright: “It’s quite easy, when sitting in front of the television, wearing a portable stereo, one hand glued to the mobile phone for text messaging, the other clutching a mug of specialist coffee…it’s quite easy to be a modern Epicurean. But turn the machines off, read a different kind of book, wander out under the night sky, and see what happens.”
My sermon this week is called “The Power of Concentration” and I’ll be talking about the art of avoiding distraction. Here’s your homework assignment before then: tomorrow night, September 19 is a harvest moon. Unplug, get out under it, and enjoy the Lord.