The Deadly Combination
Here are two values that alone are powerful, but put them together and you have a volatile mix. First, the supreme value of the individual. You are supreme. You decide. Whatever you choose, whatever you want, that is good and right for you, even if someone else disagrees. Individualism has been pushed to extreme degrees. So, we now have the ridiculous situation of most Americans still believing adultery is wrong, but at the same time having NO justification to say that if a person in a marriage wants to commit adultery that person is wrong for doing so. We are told not to judge and instead to be tolerant of all personal decisions!
Second, the supreme value of pleasure, usually through materialistic and consumerist pursuits. Stuff makes you happy. Things make you happy. Shopping, spending, buying, and owning things makes you happy. And the same for experiences. Shopping for experiences and then having the ones you want makes you happy. Adultery makes you happy. It may not make your spouse happy, but that no longer matters. If you are happy, that matters. Happiness is now to be found not in being a good person, but in being a consumer.
And as Dr. Phil might say, “So how’s that combination working for you?”
Apparently, if the statistics about depression, anxiety, suicide, addictions, broken relationships and overall dissatisfaction mean anything, IT IS NOT WORKING VERY WELL.
We spend $10 billion dollars a year on the self-help industry.
We also spend 45% of the total money spent worldwide on anti-anxiety medications and anti-depressants. Four percent of the world’s population spends 45% of the worldwide total for those meds!
Nah, it’s not working.
The most deeply held values and, by the way, not just by non-Christians, Christians have bought into these as well, show they don’t work. Well, actually they work just as you would expect. They just work in the wrong direction. They don’t work for your flourishing. They work for your floundering and your anguish. They work toward what I have mashed together and called your flanguishing. They lead to growing levels of depression and anxiety.
Here is where the craziness gets even crazier. We have eliminated God as an option. We have sidelined conversations about morality, ethics, and character. We have moved to the center the individual in the pursuit of self-centered pleasures. And those movements are wrecking our lives. And the BEST answer we get from the culture is to just keep working that program. Just go looking for some other thing, some other possession, some other experience, and some other person who will satisfy your self-centered pursuits.
Keep on doing what you’ve always done and you will keep on getting what you’ve always gotten. It is insanity to think otherwise. Thank you, Einstein, for this insight. Apparently, it takes a genius-level intellect to overcome the foolishness of the current common sense.
This is about all we have left once God has been removed. That’s the craziness of life without God.
Is There Another Way?
Sure there is. The other way is Jesus. It has always been Jesus. He never stopped being the Way. We just stopped believing and following Jesus and his Way.
Our cultural craziness and what it is doing to us is the reason Living Word has ABSOLUTELY NO HESITATION to say check out our Jesus. Give serious consideration to the Way of Jesus. Look carefully at the one called Jesus and explore what it means to be in relationship with him. Because if Jesus is real, good, and true, then his Way is the same. And as you walk on his Way, you will begin to find healing, hope, recovery, and renewal. You will experience the flourishing life Jesus says his Way provides.
Having the ability to empower and resource leaders to bear much fruit that lasts. Being a part of a team of friends and missional servants committed to changing the world.