People often don’t want to hear of things that might complicate the simplicity of the environment they’ve created around themselves, and they shelter behind walls of ideological insularity.
Insularity can blind us to the truth – to reality.
An insular environment can create its own “truth” – making sense of a chosen reality in a way that wouldn’t be possible if we took the time to look beyond the exclusion barriers we’ve erected. In a previous post something very like this kind of situation was termed a “radicalisation environment”, a term initially coined and applied to a situation among some young Muslim men.
In many ways “western” Christian experience has been built within an insular exclusion zone (its own type of “radicalisation environment), keeping other cultures at bay, even non-western Christians, and holding to a sense of “specialness”. We have viewed western society and culture as being particularly blessed by God; western comforts and prosperity being the outcome of a “Judeo-Christian” heritage. Effectively, blessings gained because of assumed historical national characteristics more than an ongoing personal connection to God.
I often wonder about the truth of those assumed “blessings”.
…others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful.
Modern Western Christianity has been relatively safe and mostly free from the kind of hardship we read about in other nations. Our experience of “Persecution” has mostly been no worse than verbal abuse, or being sidelined by general society. It rarely involves imprisonment, torture or murder as it does elsewhere in the world.
In the west Christian faith has been shaped to make it compatible with western values. When challenges to our perceived blessings arise, the blame is placed on a societal shifting from that Judeo-Christian heritage, and we lament the risk of losing those “blessings”.
Popular Western doctrines have their foundation in the kind of thinking that sees western comfort and prosperity as a God-given right. Doctrines like: a pre-tribulation rapture to remove the church from earth before bad things happen. Or prosperity doctrines that promise earthly riches and lives of comfort here and now.
Instead of Christianity changing western society, it has increasingly BEEN changed to become a westernised religion quite separated from its origins in the Middle East and increasingly distanced from the experience of non-western believers in places of hardship where reports of revival are increasingly common.
Sadly, Western Christians seem to identify much more closely with their secular nation’s interests and their unbelieving compatriots than they do with fellow believers from different countries and cultural backgrounds, and they seem to go to great lengths to protect those national interests, even when there is potential for those interests to be at odds with the Kingdom of God. *
You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realise that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.
Compare the message of the video with the message in the preceding quote from the other blog.