Over the last week, I am reading a series of books reflecting current social/psychology/philosophy, positive psychology, Biblical worldview, physiology of the brain and the affect of all the mix on mind/body/soul/spirit/relationships/culture. Each of these books is based on competent research and evidence based exploration over the last 40 years. There is a common thread to which they point – a balanced person, healthy, finding happiness/joy requires a disciplined attention to correcting dysfunctional thinking, right nutrition, spiritual regimen, and healthy-supportive relationships. Correction takes a target, a set of truths to which you correct your focus and basis of thoughts, feelings, attitudes, and beliefs. Correction takes lifetime discovery.
Of course, each has a different slant on the truth to which we need correcting. The purpose of most of these tomes is not to purport the truth to which we correct but the biological, psychological, spiritual, social, and cultural reasons we need to do it to be healthy. A couple have a portion of truth base they are proposing. Both of these are Biblical. One explores truth in relation to cultural improvement and the other to personal and intra-personal relations.
The slide of Christianity to send people to the “licensed counselor”, who is required by the state to have no truth is interesting. The slide was to give up having answers and give in to the culture of no answers. It was not just Christianity, but the state, the education system, media, and the arts. This slide that started strong in the 1960’s has resulted in a culture with no boundaries and no target besides self fulfillment and material abundance. We have reached that target as a culture with the strongest economy registered, the undeniable military top position, and bigger houses, cars, televisions, and techno gadgets.
“The very essence of your words is truth; all your just regulations will stand forever.” Psalms 119:160 NLT
Simultaneously, we have reached an epidemic level of depression, anxiety, violence, anger, abuse, addiction, and suicide. We have more and yet we have nothing because nothing is our target. We are vacant and self centered. Our leaders are vacant and self-centered. The golden rule of do unto others what you would have done unto you does not apply anymore. It has been replaced with do what you can get away with and acquire what is theirs.
Islam is the fastest growing religion because they have a target and are unashamed to publish it. They are focused. People are looking for focus onto which they can build happiness.
The problem is not culture. The problem is that Christianity needs to believe it’s own truth, live it, and promote it with compassion and graduated understanding. It needs to engage with truth and live it. First, it needs to clean house. It needs to believe and live the truth. The disgusting proliferation of abuse and vitriolic judgement in Christianity is a violation of truth. Christianity does not believe in truth anymore and it shows. It has slid to “come and stay as you are” and “come and treat God like a sugar daddy”. That is not His designed and created truth. He calls us to come to Him and conform to Him.
Every one of the writer/researchers points to a need for spiritual truth as a balanced approach to reaching a settled heart and mind. They approach from a mix physiological, psychological, sociological, philosophical, cultural-political, or theological viewpoint. All render the judgement that a disciplined correction of dysfunctional thinking to truth and a spiritual base and positive supportive relationships is paramount. And these are the major items we have given away in our culture.
Truth is relevant. Maybe we want it to be relative. But it is relevant and necessary. None of us understand it all. But the core is discoverable and meaningful. We may disagree on the truth and need to respectfully examine the disagreements and establish our boundaries and focus based on the truth we understand. We will be the better for it.
“Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ. This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ. Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth. Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.”
Ephesians 4:11-16 NLT