More and more I am beginning to understand about the false prophets that the Old Testament prophets, Jesus, and then Paul warned about. Whether it is the sensationalism of news media, persons with a political agenda, or the radicalism of people claiming a biblical mandate, some folks are doing their best to foster their personal agenda by playing on our fears. And sadly many of us succomb and I believe that happens for a couple of reasons but the main reason is that we don't really know what is right and we are being conditioned to let others tell us what we should believe. And then there is the issue of who is right if we do listen to all the voices clamoring at us.
We have begun to rely on the news media not only to tell us what has happened, but to interpret it for us. We have begun to rely on preachers and especially vocal tele-evangelists to tell us what the Bible says and how it applies today. In both these instances we are getting what is currently called a "spin". It seems to me that a "spin" is more than an interpretation of events, it is a willful attempt to sway an opinion using events and circumstances to justify an agenda. It is as if we can no longer think for ourselves, or as if we do not have appropriate knowledge to interpret events for ourselves.
I am reminded of what Mickey Efird says about our knowledge of the Bible. The Bible is not about what we thought it said, or we wish it said, or that we hope it says. We need to know what it says or we are at the mercy of those who would interpret it for their own purposes. Remember, in this country not too many years ago, we used the Bible to justify slavery. The Bible taken out of context can be a dangerous practice and that is one reason why we need Bible study so that we can not only know what it says, but also begin to understand the context. When we understand the context and the content, we can better apply the scriptures to our own lives.
I have had people tell me that Mickey Efird is scary because he teaches things they have never heard before. But I have not heard many folks complain that the "Left Behind" series is scary. So, what is the difference? Mickey is trying to bring context to what the Bible says and giving us that information to add it to other teachings to decide for ourselves. The "Left Behind" series appropriates scripture and tells us what is says for today and we buy it because it is what we have always heard; the agenda -- to sell books!
So, name your fear in this day and time. Is it a perceived move from democracy to socialism in our country? Is it acceptance of homosexuality as an approved lifestyle? Is it terrorism and all that it represents in its many forms? Today there are a whole lot of folks "spining" those issues and we don't know what to believe. The purveyors of "spin" play on our fears and advance their own agendas.
John Ortberg's book, If You Want to Walk on Water, You Have Got to Get Out of the Boat and Max Lucado's book, Fearless are two attempts by Christian writers to get us to address our fears. In neither of those books is there a spin on an issue. Both name fear as the reason for our paralysis and suggest we need to address our fears so that we are not ruled by them. Great idea and no agenda, no "spin"!
I believe it is time to reclaim responsibility for our lives and our thoughts and our opinions. But to do that, one of the things we have to do is stop letting others dictate our thoughts and understandings of the circumstances that surround us. Name your fear and decide to do something about it. Learn what the Bible says and the context in which it says it. Stop being lazy and accepting what your favorite news commentator tells you to believe. Reclaim life, the life God is calling you to not the one "spun" by the world.
Blessing for the journey --