Pastor's Blog

We all need vitamins.  But too much vitamin A in your system, for one example, is toxic.

Too much of a good thing can be a bad thing.

Our society is overdosing on one of its own ideals:  individualism.  And evangelical Christians aren’t immune.

Individualism is not evil, per se.  It is one pole on the spectrum.  But God said it’s not good for man to be alone.  We were made to be social, to connect meaningfully to others – not to live in isolation.  The harder we lean toward individualism and a completely libertarian approach to life, the more we move away from social connection and toward isolation from others.

Some of you may have just read that last sentence and thought, “Is the pastor becoming a socialist?”  If you did, you just made my point.  I’m anything but a socialist.  But if you go too far to one pole of a spectrum, you lose perspective on a proper balance in life, and you end up thinking any movement in the opposite direction is error.  But the error is leaning too hard toward one pole.  Moving back toward the other pole can be correction toward proper balance.

American society has become overly individualized.  Everyone is intent on being unique and special and different.  This moves people away from each other, not together.  Diversity is important, but when diversity becomes everything, unity becomes impossible – even if you know unity is necessary for society to work.

The same politicians who call for unity also push for greater emphasis on diversity at the same time.  One really cannot eat one’s cake and have it too.

When the pendulum swings too far toward individualism, we see focus on our differences as a strength and we also see insistence on getting our own way as a necessity.  Finding common ground comes to mean “you will agree completely with me.” 

When thousands of people are moving away from each other, isolating from one another, each demanding their own way, it makes having a civilized society increasingly difficult.  There is no mortar to hold the bricks together.  Disorder, chaos, and anarchy result.

And that usually leads to a radical imposition of order – forced conformity rather than unity.

The American evangelical church, I believe, is riding the pendulum of American individualism.  We see the Christian faith as something that can be completely custom-made to our own liking.  We believe that I should be free to do my thing, and you should be free to do yours.  If we happen to meet in the process, that’s beautiful.  If not, it’s still beautiful.

But it isn’t.
It’s isolation.  It’s a weakened society.  It’s a weakened church.  It’s being alone.
Each brick, alone, without mortar.  That’s not a wall.  It’s a pile of bricks.

Being “the Church” is much more than this.  We weren’t made to be alone.  There must be mortar.

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