“Judeo Christian” Weeds and Thorns


How many of our assumptions are really based on truth? And how many are based on what we’ve been led to believe or what we prefer to believe?

How does this affect our views of the “normal Christian life’ and how we try to live one?

Which has most influence over our understanding? The Bible or our local culture – particularly our western “Judeo-Christian” culture.

I’ve asked previously, to what extent are many of the things we attribute to God’s blessings in reality more related to the thorns and weeds that choke God’s word and make us unfruitful? [see parable of the sower]

Has the “Judeo-Christian” influenced western world really been blessed with prosperity and freedom because of that “Judeo-Christian” foundation as I’ve seen claimed recently?

Or again, have we been seduced by those choking thorns and weeds and have we created a mythical foundation to justify and legitimise them in our lives?

Does the term “Judeo-Christian” even have any valid meaning if it’s reflecting something other than an accurate, bible based faith in Jesus?

Just what is that alleged “Judeo-Christian” foundation based upon anyway?

Is it genuinely based entirely on biblical revelation? Or does it have more to do with the highly flawed doctrines and politics emerging from Christendom?

I can’t help comparing my personal experience and observations of Christian life in the “Judeo-Christian” west with those of believers I read about in accounts from Christian-minority nations; from Islamic, Hindu, Buddhist majority countries. Or those under atheistic communist regimes.

Which background seems most conducive to maintaining an active faith in Jesus?

Initial impressions, along with a kind of romanticising of the persecuted Christian would seem to indicate a more thriving faith when under pressure. However, returning to Jesus’s parable about the sower, that is not necessarily the case. Jesus also refers to seed falling in stony ground, representing those “who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with gladness; and they have no root in themselves, and so endure only for a time. Afterward, when tribulation or persecution arises for the word’s sake, immediately they stumble.”

So persecution doesn’t always lead to stronger commitment – just as exposure to  a “western” lifestyle doesn’t presuppose someone to be seduced by materialism; however awareness of personal circumstances and recognising what is most likely to present personal challenges, according to our own circumstances is essential.

Therefore as a western based believer I need to be extra conscious of the potential pitfalls presented by the society in which I live, and make sure I don’t try to justify the very real seductive power of those pitfalls by attributing their “benefits” to God.

 

4 thoughts on ““Judeo Christian” Weeds and Thorns

  1. Yes! Do we measure our spirituality, or evidence of God’s approval, by our material status? Could it be because a person was greedy, or didn’t give enough away, that they have wealth stored up—or the ability to build big homes, drive fancy cars, wear jewelry, furs, or go on cruises? Perhaps their perception of themselves as “King’s kids” is a delusion. Because they perceive themselves as being “blessed” by God, they are not able to see how they are sinning. It can be a great danger to connect financial security to spiritual approval. It just takes a cursory perusal of the world around us to see wealth is also possessed by those who are evil. Just because we carry the name of Jesus doesn’t mean our accumulation of wealth is a sign of God’s approval. Christians believe if they give away 10% they’ve done their duty and can spend the rest on themselves, but I never hear a sermon preached on 2 Cor. 8: 13: “Our desire is not that others might be relieved while you are hard pressed, but that there might be equality.”

    I think the West has had financial blessings in many ways because they have followed biblical principles concerning the work ethic, producing a dynamic middle class, but I also think there’s a misconception about stewardship, and Christians have absconded their responsibility to care for the least of these—turning it over to the state. I’m not a social justice warrior, but I also know I will stand before Jesus one day and be judged by what I did for others, not by how wise my stewardship was in bringing money my way. I think it can be very difficult to discern mammon worship because it’s bound up with Judeo-Christian worship. (Job was blessed with financial wealth. So was Abraham, for example.) It takes eyes to see and ears to hear to inspect our own lives with integrity. Unfortunately, comfort, security, and the hope for God’s approval can cloud our vision.

    I’ve watched so many Christians in my personal life, and in public ministry, who think their financial “blessing” has come to them because of their wisdom in stewardship. In the meantime they can justify selfish excess because they think they’ve done their “duty” to God, but it may be frightening one day to stand before God and answer for the “equality” demanded by 2 Cor. 8:13.

  2. I also think there’s a misconception about stewardship, and Christians have absconded their responsibility to care for the least of these—turning it over to the state.

    Hi Diana,
    Something I find ironic is that some of those same Christians then seem to object to the state caring for “the least of these”.
    Personally I’d prefer if my tax dollars were used to aid “the least” rather than being directed to the benefit of those who don’t really need more dollars in their pockets.

    Christians believe if they give away 10% they’ve done their duty and can spend the rest on themselves.

    I recall a sermon I heard in a local church, where the preacher was advocating a giving of 10% and no more – who in fact blamed the generosity of the early church (Acts 2: 44-45) for the later need for Paul and Barnabas to take “relief” from the church in Antioch to the belivers in Judea (Acts 11: 27-30). The clear message was that giving more than 10% is foolish. That preacher was himself quite well-off.

    Limiting (enforcing?) giving to 10% is favourable to the wealthy but can be a burden to the poor.
    I remember many years ago realising that my single low salary, that was supporting myself, a wife and a child, required exactly the same “tithe” from me as was expected from a single person on the same salary who had no dependents. That didn’t quite add up – especially when the above mentioned preacher’s attitude is taken into account.

    “So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.”

  3. Exactly. We wonder why so many people are leaving the faith. I think the false teaching about money places an undue burden on the poor and relieves the rich of any spiritual responsibility to care for others. How embarrassing and burdensome for the poor to attend church.

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