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THE LATEST CULT (published in The North Weld Herald/Voice 9/5/13)

posted Sep 7, 2013, 1:18 PM by Fccea Webmaster
An editorial cartoon pictures a rock monument where words are chiseled in pyramid form:
Surrounding this monument are people worshiping with their hands repeating phrases like, "Do yourself a favor," "You owe it to yourself," "You deserve a break today," and so forth. The cartoon is titled: "Speaking of American cults. . . ."

Though humorously presented, that is an accurate depiction of our culture from one that was historically "we" oriented to one that is primarily "me" oriented.

The sociologists have weighed in with evidence. William Willimon and Thomas Naylor report on the results of a recent study taken at Duke's School of Business where students were asked, "What do you want to be when you grow up?"

The authors report, "With few exceptions, they wanted three things -- money, power and things (very big things, including vacation homes, expensive foreign automobiles, yachts and even airplanes). Primarily concerned with their careers and the growth of their financial portfolios, their personal plans contained little room for family, intellectual development, spiritual growth or social responsibility. Their mandate to the faculty was, 'Teach me how to be a moneymaking machine.'" Idolatry -- 21st century style!

Can this narcissistic trend be turned back? That may be difficult with me-centered messages bombarding us and our children from all directions. But we can determine to do what Joshua did when he faced a culture that was determined to pursue cultural idols. He took a stand: "But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD."

The Lord's instruction on this issue is pretty clear. Jesus' disciples had their own narcissistic tendencies. As they anticipated the kingdom that they were sure Jesus as about to set up, we find them constantly arguing about who among them was the greatest -- who would get the choice political appointments.

Jesus' response was, "The greatest among you shall be your servant. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted" (Matt 23:11-12). He basically promises that the pursuit of self-gratification will end in humiliation -- sooner or later.

That goes counter to the mindset of our culture which is reflected in the response of a woman who, while filling out a life insurance policy was asked, "Who would you like to name as beneficiary?" She responded, "Me." A misunderstanding, no doubt -- but reflective of the attitude that says, "The primary beneficiary of my efforts will be -- me!"

Jesus basically promises if you aim at that end you will end up with nothing. The principle is simple: You don't get by getting; you get by giving. That's truth to live by.

By His Grace,
Pastor Dave