Last Saturday we gathered just 2 days after 46 men converged on the Roswell Studio Movie Grill to see American Sniper. Expectations were high. Watching the life of Chris Kyle on the screen was ... sobering. And such a large community of men watched it together; men with widely different political, sociological and spiritual perspectives. Since there wasn't a real opportunity on the night of the film to debrief as a group, what do you think happened on Saturday?
As a Kingdom outpost, we at BANDO are committed to living in such a way that (from God's perspective) we don't miss the point! Better yet, we purpose to 'hit the mark' in our Motives, Attitudes, Actions, Thoughts and Words. And men gathered on Saturday with their insides churning from watching a film full of opposing values and difficult life contradictions. Many men process what they experience when they get a chance to put words to their experiences. It is no different at BANDO. There was a wide array of thoughts about and responses to the film - as one might expect. It was disruptive to think about and talk about.
Rather than give the "Christian Answer" to the problems presented by war, we did what we often do. We asked questions. And we asked questions of God. As He often does, God asked back.
While we verbally processed the film and our many different opinions about the film (believe me, there were many different opinions...), we also found ourselves talking about our Assumptions about Life, Ourselves, God and others. It wasn't long before we visited one very popular (and deeply held) Assumption that most people carry with them for their entire lives. It is popular around the world -- and it is also popular within the Christian community. That Assumption happened to be, "This life is mostly about securing a good and comfortable life here on the earth."
If I backtrack for a moment, let me add context to this short piece. Our "assumptions" are often unspoken, unnamed and hidden from us. Like the fish swimming in his "wet" environment -- the fish doesn't feel "wet" at all. He feels normal. Water IS his environment.
In the same way, "culture" is our environment, Christian or not. Most of our convictions and assumptions were "handed over" to us by someone else. And we accepted them (most often as a young child) as Normal Life.
Back to the question we sensed that God was asking us. "Where is it that you are self-deceived?" Where have you made this world your Treasure instead of making God's Kingdom your Treasure? It's true that Only God has a perfectly clear view of US. He knows our 'external self'; and so does almost everyone else. But He also is intimately aware of our 'internal self' - something of which we are often unaware.
Christianity, by it's very nature, is a way of life that functions only when the supernatural Life of Jesus is given free access in our hearts and minds. By His very nature, God is a Revelatory Being. The understanding of the Gospel comes to humans by way of God revealing it to us. It is far more than accepting a set of intellectual propositions about God. It is wonderful that we have minds that can think and process. But our minds cannot save or deliver us -- especially from unknown assumptions we carry, some of which are damaging.
So we left the day with that question posed to us by God, "Where is it that you are self-deceived?" Since God is true to His Nature, I fully expect to hear from men this week that God pulled back the curtain a bit to reveal, not only where they have been self-deceived in some way or another, but also where His Truth is making it's way to the core of their being.