I think the chief enemy of Christian spirituality in America is that we are a “Christian” country. There. Finished. What more is there? We’re already “Christian,” so what’s the big deal about church? The Bible? Jesus? His teaching? His divinity? We know all that already, and we’d rather just get back to politics, Nascar, and hating Arabs, thank you very much.
We have no sense of the magnitude either of [a] our God, or [b] His requirements upon us to be His people. We’re oblivious.Blind even.
And because it is so easy to be an American Christian—you don’t have to give anything up, in fact there are tax benefits for us to make it easier to give up our money to God—we never have to really stand for anything good or against anything really bad. Sure, we’ve got our single-issue political stances pretty well lined up, but that ‘love your enemies’ nonsense can wait until later. And the bit about ‘taking the plank out of your own eye’…well, we’ll leave that for the same day we take seriously Paul’s warnings against gluttony. I mean, those things are important, but there’s no need for us to be radical.
No need to be consumed by religion. We just want to be “good” Christian neighbors, citizens.
I could go on, but you get the point. The Laodicean Christians, unlike most of their peers, were rich. Consequently, they didn’t face any of the pressures to conform to the surrounding culture that the Ephesians (for example) did. They already fit into their culture. In many ways, it seems like they had a controlling interest in their culture. They had power. Money. Influence. They had all the things that Christian people have always wanted.
And it ruined them.
Just like it’s ruining us.
Look—if you love Jesus, give him everything. If “being Christian” is simply something that you think of as part of being a good person, then you’d better smarten up. Christ would rather have you be Bill Maher, Ricky Gervais, or Richard Dawkins—all famed atheists and adversaries to Christian spirituality—than a patriot in religious drag.