Caught in a Bad Romance

Oh-oh-oh-oh-oooh! Oh-oh-oooh-oh-oh! Caught in a bad romance

Oh-oh-oh-oh-oooh! Oh-oh-oooh-oh-oh! Caught in a bad romance

Ever get a stupid song stuck in your head?

I want your loving And I want your revenge You and me could write a bad romance

Maybe something by ABBA or maybe a Lady Gaga hit that played on the radio on the way home from work.
Not really your usual musical fare, nothing edifying or uplifting about the lyrics but there it is, stuck in your head on a continual loop.

Oh-oh-oh-oh-oooh! Oh-oh-oooh-oh-oh! Caught in a bad romance

Or maybe you have secret snack affair with some trashy food you met on a street corner – pork rinds, hot dogs or deep-fried Oreos. You know you should tell her it’s over but night falls and you find yourself wandering alone in her neighborhood – maybe just one more time.

I want your ugly I want your disease
I want your everything As long as it’s free
I want your love Love-love-love I want your love

Perhaps you’re caught up in a romance with reality TV – not wanting to admit at the office that you know the players they’re discussing from The Bachelor, or maybe you’ve developed a taste for tabloid gossip – easy enough to pick up at the grocery checkout and read alone in the car before everyone comes home at the end of the day.

I want your drama The touch of your hand
I want your leather studded kiss in the sand
And I want your love Love-love-love I want your love

These little dalliances aren’t the stuff of a spiritual federal case – minor indulgences, really, when weighed against the “greater sins” – but they weaken the fabric of our souls, they rust our spiritual armor, they work like dry rot or termites to soften our foundation leaving us vulnerable when storms strike.

Oh-oh-oh-oh-oooh! Oh-oh-oooh-oh-oh! Caught in a bad romance

I’ve been wondering lately if, as American Christians, we haven’t been caught up in a bad romance with worldly power.
This is a wonderful country and I love our freedom and our rights. I am grateful every day that God allowed me to be born into such a time and place.
But, how much of what I believe about the gospel and how God works is shaped by knowing I have that freedom and those rights – to worship, to voice my opinion, to vote, to act and to defend my rights?
Political power seems like a birthright to me – even as an evangelical Christian – maybe, especially as an evangelical. But isn’t the gospel still true for people who don’t have that freedom and who have no rights?
Jesus came on the scene to a people who suffered under Roman oppression. They weren’t free and they had few rights but that generation saw the birth of the church. They knew the joy and freedom of the gospel of Jesus Christ in a context so foreign to me but familiar to multitudes across the planet today.

What can I learn about Christ from Christians who suffer under communism or Islamic rule or the spiritual oppression of voodoo?

What can they teach me about faith who live under political systems so vile and corrupt that the lives of average citizens are a daily exercise in torture?

What do brothers and sisters who live in areas of endless poverty, disease, gang warfare, drug cartels and slavery have to say to me about life in Christ?

I really want to hear them and be instructed on freedom in Christ in the midst of a world system that allows no physical freedom. I think, like many other American Christians, my faith in Christ has been weakened by a prolonged romance with faith in democracy and the worldly power it offers.
This is not to say that democracy is wrong by any means but I think I’ve grown soul-lazy by relying on my worldly freedoms for comfort and hope. There are people who live without these advantages and who follow Christ – what can they teach me about faith?

Oh-oh-oh-oh-oooh! Oh-oh-oooh-oh-oh! Caught in a bad romance

If I weren’t so trusting of my own ability to act, of my freedom to fight for my rights and for my preferences, would my prayer life and reliance on scripture be richer, less prone to anemia, fuller-bodied and muscular.
I think it would be.
I really want to know what you think about this. What have you learned from believers in other cultures?

What have you experienced of faith in the midst of lost freedom? Am I off base in this? Or do you agree that we would be stronger spiritually if we relied less on worldly power and more on Christ?
What does that look like in the midst of our own culture?
Are we using the power we do have to glorify God and to serve those who have no earthly power or are we just resting in it or using it to make our own lives as comfortable as possible?

Can we wean ourselves from it? Can we break off this bad romance? Do we need to?

Seriously seeking conversation on this – tell me what you think.

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Lyrics from Bad Romance by Lady Gaga


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10 Comments

    The Conversation

  1. Cheri says:

    Lori,

    I believe you have hit the nail on the head. Our spiritual power is weakened by the freedoms we enjoy. As Americans, we have come to expect freedom, and we expect the government to protect that freedom. In many ways, we depend on the government far more than we depend on God, and we are paying for it, I am afraid.

    Not to say that I do not enjoy the freedom that democracy affords, and I am fighting hard to preserve it. But as Christians, we need to grapple with this truth that you have brought forth.

    Thank you for faithfully sharing the things that most of us are loathe to think about! Thank you for sharpening us.

    Blessings,
    Cheri

  2. So, I agree with you, Cheri, and I think this is one thing the younger generations detect in our faith. So, I’m wondering how to go about loosening my dependancy on faith in government while still appreciating my freedoms. Ideas?

  3. Karin says:

    Over the years it has always fascinated me that the church was reported to grow stronger and more rapidly in the places where the blood of martyrs was spilled. Where there is religious freedom, economic growth, and tolerant political system, it seems that we breathe a collective sigh of relief, enjoy that we have it so good, and have no sense of urgency to share the Gospel of Christ.

    It seems to be me that there is presently stirred up a true, deep hunger for the Living Word and that’s why there is such dissatisfaction even among Christians resulting in a re-examination of what we truly called to do and how to serve Christ the best and not just serve ourselves.

    Your voice is definitely among those who is helping us all to think things through! Bless you!

  4. KB Cook says:

    It seems that the LORD is directing more of His children in the USA to reexamine these things in the light of His Word and to look at the broader picture, rather than microscoping in on what seems “so important” to self.

    I, too, have found myself learning the self-control to distance myself from “self-” things that the American culture has imposed upon me for so many years.

    The Church will be built and He will hone the living stones that we are to Him to fit His plans, sometimes in spite of “self.” Whoever will follow Him will learn to give up “self” and will learn to cling unconditionally to Him, dragging the carcass of our “self” nailed to our cross behind us. May God have mercy and bring us all to His goal line in Christ.

    Thanks for sharing this, as it rings right in tune with what He’s been pulling through my thoughts. Be blest.

  5. Kim Henson says:

    I must be soul-lazy because my feathers ruffled. And I sure like being comfortable and I’m tempted to justify it – another awareness. I’m going to think on this.

  6. Karin and KB, so – you hear this message from the Lord as well? How do we do it? How do we live with freedom and yet not rely on it? Grow lazy with it?

  7. Kim! Tell me what you’re thinking. I want to be challenged on this. It’s something I’m truly trying to think out, to wrestle through and I’m sure I’m not “there” yet. Tell me your thoughts. This post is a challenge to me as much as to anyone.

  8. Some things are definitely harder for the “rich man.” And I agree it is easy to get soul lazy when you don’t have to worry for your life every day. However, this country has been (and I think still is) the most generous in the world. We have sent out more missionaries and money than any other country. I can say, when we returned from Guatemala and the months of living under fear and corruption–when we crossed the border and I saw the American flag, I cried.

  9. I dearly appreciate what we have in America, the gift it’s been to us and to the rest of the world. I guess I’m beginning to see those freedoms slip away and I think we should prepare – both our own hearts and the next generation for a different depth of faith. I would love to know and to hear about the faith experience of Guatemalan believers. I have no romantic notions about desiring to live as they do but I want to be instructed by what they have learned of living for Christ under those conditions.

  10. Heather says:

    I really struggle with being an American Christian. First and foremost, I love my country but I love my Savior more. I personally do not say the Pledge of Allegiance if I can get away with it. Not because I won’t honor my country, but because I cannot PLEDGE myself to it, in case if asks something of me that I cannot give because of my allegiance to Christ. He is where my allegiance lies, and I cannot promise to do something when I don’t know what I am going to be asked. My son asked me about how I felt about Christians in the military. I told him that they may face a situation where the country is asking them to do something they have a problem with, and you have to follow orders in the military. If you don’t follow orders, you need to be ready to face the consequences. I think this is true about any facet of life, not just the military. If our boss says we will be fired if we share the Gospel with co-workers, then we need to be ready to accept being fired if we choose to follow Christ in sharing the Gospel with co-workers. The problem that I see is that too many Christians either 1) back down from doing what Christ has asked because they don’t want to suffer the consequences, or 2) want to get out of the difficult consequences, thinking they have a “right” to follow Christ without negative consequences. Following Christ brings persecution into our lives in one form or another. We must be ready. I have not arrived completely, but my desire is that I would rather face the negative consequences of not following the world to please my Savior than to face the negative consequences of not following my Savior to please the world.