Exercise your faith and civic responsibility

October 5, 2010

I remember hearing years ago about how a wall-eyed pike could be conditioned into unbelief. You see, the pike’s favorite food is a minnow. You drop a minnow in a tank with a pike, and it is time for a minnow funeral. An experiment was conducted where a glass partition was put in the tank, dividing it in half, with the pike on one side and the minnow on the other. At first, the pike took off after that minnow like a preacher after a piece of fried chicken. The pike slammed into the glass. Undaunted, the pike got up a full head of steam, licking his chops in anticipation of a fish fry, and wham! He hit the glass again. And then again. And again. Finally, he gave up. His little fish brain had been reprogrammed to believe a lie: “I can’t eat minnows anymore. It hurts like crazy whenever I try. Just can’t do it.” Then the proof that the conditioning was complete: the glass partition was removed. The minnow swam cautiously, slowly towards the pike, knowing his little life was a nanosecond away from being a light snack. He swam closer to his predator. No response. The pike didn’t even give the minnow a look. Why should he? He believed he couldn’t have it, so why torment himself by eyeballing the tasty morsel? The truth had not changed; the pike could eat the minnow. However, he now suffered from unbelief, and went hungry because of it. He had believed a lie.
I know we humans are much higher up the food chain. Hey, we eat the pike that eats the minnow, or wishes he had. The truth is, however, that we can be conditioned into believing a lie just as easily, and I believe the average believer today has believed many. Consider this classic, the lie that says, “A healthy Christian should not be involved in the media, the arts, politics, or anything else that is not ‘spiritual.’” Here’s a response: does the world define what the Christian should be involved in? Or does the Word? Jesus Christ, who is the Word made flesh, said, “You are the salt of the earth, but if the salt loses its flavor, how then shall it be seasoned? … You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.”
The church has been in hiding for so long because the world told us, “You can’t be involved in media. Let us handle that, you just go have your worship services.” We said, “OK,” and obeyed. Then the world said, “You can’t be involved in politics. Don’t forget about the ‘separation of church and state clause in the Constitution’” (which clause, by the way, does not exist in the Constitution or in any of our founding documents). Ignorant of that, we said, “OK,” and slinked off. Then the church said to itself, “Hey, we can’t be involved in arts and entertainment. It’s of the devil.” And we said, “OK,” and shuffled back to the sanctuary.
Christians are called by God to be involved in every part of the culture as salt and light. In the last midterm election, millions of evangelical Christians did not even bother to vote. I encourage you, church, to be who you were created to be. Don’t believe the lie that says Christians are to be neither seen nor heard. Let us pray up, read up, speak up, show up and grow up with regard to exercising our faith and our civic responsibilities.