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2 Timothy 3:1-4

“This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God.”

How are Christians to respond to these evil days? The Bible describes our day very clearly from the scriptures. Violence, arrogance and selfishness is what caused the earth to be destroyed in the old Testament and is what is ripping our society  apart today. Citizens all across the country  are crying for the end of police brutality, a better way of living and end to  common street violence.

Recently, we saw yet more young man’s death be ruled a product of a “lawful shooting.” The cries across the  country are mournful echoes of demands.

  • If only the government would pass certain laws this would correct the violent behavior.
  • If only the police department would reflect the minority it serves.
  • If only poverty was addressed  across the country.
  • If only education was offered more readily and equally to all.

These all have some truth grounded in it. Yet, they are  seeded with some responsibility.

  • Why do we not live in community where we all understand that we are a community?
  • Why do we not take pride in serving in our community and encourage our youth to do so?
  • Why do we squander our wealth of frivolous items over investing?
  • Why do we not have patience to pursue truth and knowledge?

The Bible prophesies events that will take place just prior to revelation. The explosion of violence worldwide is one of those events.

Jesus warned in Luke 23:31:

“For if people do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?”

Well…. the wood is bone dry. It’s so dry in fact that we all have splinters. Those splinters are named: racism, poverty,perversion, selfishness and distrust. It’s dry as evidenced from a new report that was issued today. Young millennials are declaring not to follow a religion. The most likely reason is that “the religious tradition” or  “religious understanding” has been negated from everyday life.  Unlike  the “boomers” or the “greatest generation’s”, life of dedication and direct understanding of one’s faith practices has declined.

For example, I teach a religion class on Saturday morning.I have done so for 25 years. Each year, parents participate less and less. They do not show up for  common worship. They do not pray at home. The child shows up to class mystified when instructed to pray with their family.

Sadly, this is not rare. There is no prayer life. They fail to realize that being spiritual does not arm you with the tools you need.  They are quick to blame it on “what the church has or hasn’t done. “All of us can understand institutional distrust. Institutions have  made mistakes. The problem is being spiritual.

Spirituality is an emotion. Religion is an obligation. Spirituality soothes. Religion makes you do something. Spirituality is satisfied with itself. There is the problem. SELF.

Spiritual but not religious” confines your devotional life to feeling good. My skin always crawls when I hear those words. Spiritual takes no work. Religion takes work. Everything in our world is revolving around what feels good. That is why the pews are empty. Everyone wants to be entertained and “feel” good.  I have heard over and over again: “I go there because the music is great.” That is not faith. That is waiting on something to move you as if you are owed it. That is the dry wood. You cannot nurture a relationship outside yourself. It also lacks gratitude.

We cannot continue to live in a life where self service replaces a life lived with respect to the living vines of life. If you do, you will be withered and dry in a parched loveless land.

What do you think?

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