Air Conditioned Christianity

air-conditioned-for-your-comfort

Then Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.Matthew 28:18-20 (Modern English Version)

This week I was working in Los Angeles when I received a frantic call from my amazingly beautiful wife, Jennifer, telling me that our air conditioner is NOT WORKING.

Panic filled her voice. “What are we going to do? It’s sooooo HOT!”

Ugh! How can we live without air conditioning? We live in Florida. This is not North Dakota. Can mankind survive in Florida without conditioned air? Uh, the answer is “yes, we can.”

When I arrived home on Thursday evening I walked into the house and spoke words that no husband should utter under these dire circumstances, “hey, it doesn’t feel too bad.” What was I thinking? As if it wasn’t bad enough I continued the foolish and dangerous verbal path by adding, “It’s actually quite nice.” My perspiring bride had murder in her eyes.

When I woke up this morning with the ceiling fans on high and the cool, crisp morning air wisping through the open windows it actually brought a smile to my face (in which I hid from my melting wife, of course). It reminded me of my childhood.

I am old. Really old. 45 years old to be exact. I can remember a time growing up without air conditioning. Yes, man can survive. I remember when my father brought home a brand new AC window unit from Sears. What a glorious day! We would finally be like my “rich” friends and have cool, refreshing, conditioned air blasting our faces on those melting hot days of summer. My father installed it. Turned it on for about 15 minutes to make sure it was working and then turned it off. I thought, “why did he turn it off?” Actually, I asked it out loud. Over and over again. He informed me that it would run up our electric bill and we would only use it when it was too hot and couldn’t stand it much longer.

Every day through that blistering summer I asked my father if it was hot enough. Somehow, it was rarely hot enough to turn it on. We used it maybe 15 days a year.

Now, as a survivor of the hot summer days of yesteryear, I reflect on that time. I look at my life now and the life of my children and realize how much air conditioning had changed our lives.

Because my parents did not use our air conditioner I spent most of my days outside. Playing. With other neighborhood kids, also outside. Playing. We spent a lot of time outside playing with others. I grew up in the country. It was an effort to find neighbors because they lived a few miles down the road. The discomfort of the indoors drove us to the outside.

What’s my point? The problem with air conditioning is that it creates a false environment that no longer reflects the environment outside the walls. It creates an environment of comfort. It creates an environment that meets our complete satisfaction and shelters us from the harsh reality of the outside world.

I realized this morning that this is the American Church. We have created in America a new, false reality, designed for our comfort – Air Conditioned Christianity.

We have created on insular society that remains within their fabricated environment of comfort to shelter us from the harsh reality of the outside world. We no longer sweat with the world. We are not driven from within our walls to search for our neighbors to play.

Our artificial reality was never the intention of the Carpenter of Galilee when He built His Church. He wanted us to have a place to rest and refuel but not so comfortable that we do not go “outside” to seek out the least and the lost.

That is why we have shouting Christians that stand within their conditioned walls to criticize the evils of those that are outside. We dare not leave our comfort to go sweat in the blistering harsh reality of the world around us.

I am calling us back to a time when the church had no air conditioning, no padded pews, and no coffee shops. Those men and women knew that the building was not to be a place of comfort because we were not suppose to spend all our time on pews. We were to be outside sweating with the world.

Go, get out of your comfort zone, preach the grace-filled, loving gospel, and baptize the exhausted, weak, and sweating people into the cool, refreshing waters of salvation. The lost does not need our air conditioned criticism, they need their thirst quenched by the living water of Jesus.

Trump? Hillary? Which King will Christians choose?


But the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel. And they said, “No! But surely a king will be over us! So that we also will be like all the nations! And so that our king will govern us, and will go out before us, and will fight our battles.”  – 1 Samuel 8:19-20 (Modern English Version)

I grew up in a Democrat family. My father retired as a steelworker and my mother was a hard working housewife that took odd jobs to help put food on our table. I didn’t think of us as poor but by economical standards we were pretty close. Hard work was a core value. Education was good but not demanded. A good labor job was the hope of my mother for her children.

On our living room wall hung a picture of John F. Kennedy from the time he campaigned in Huntington, WV and visited my father’s company, Connor’s Steel. That picture represented hope to the blue collar worker and was my father’s prized possession. He even named one of my older brothers after JFK.

For the working class, and the down-trodden, the Democratic party represented hope from corrupt businesses and brought equality to the balance of power. The champion of the poor against the evils of the rich.

In September 1988 something incredible happened in my life. Jesus found a broken and lost boy and gloriously rescued me. It was transformative. I saw the world differently. Priorities shifted. The Bible came alive. From that day forward I had a resolve in my spirit to try to see the world through the lens of the Bible and not lean upon my cultural, political, economical, or ethnic biases to base my worldview. I no longer wanted to act as if the temporal realities were greater than the eternal realities. This shifted my view of politics substantially. (See Why I use #blacklivesmatter hashtag blog post.)

It has grieved my heart to witness the hostility between my Christian brothers and sisters with regard to this election. Both sides of the political argument shouting their propaganda and nobody listening. What has shocked me most is seeing so many Christians JUSTIFY Donald J. Trump and try to use the Bible to persuade other less-informed (sheeplike, not in a good sense) Christians that he is God’s choice. God’s choice? Seriously? Do you hear what you are saying? God’s choice?

Then, on the other hand, are my more liberal friends that are defending Hillary Clinton and painting the picture that she is some sort of pure, unstained Joan of Arc that will altruistically champion the cause of the poor. I have seen people compare her policies to the heart of Jesus. This makes me want to vomit.

It all reminds me of the story in 1 Samuel between chapters 4 to 8. Let me remind you of this story (and hopefully you will read for yourself) so you can see where we are in America.

The children of Israel had began to sway away from the Lord and His ways. The ark of the covenant represented the glory of God, His presence in the land, to the people. In battle the children of Israel would carry the ark with them to represent that God was on their side. Until this tragic day that Israel was defeated by the Philistines and the ark was taken. The presence of God was taken from Israel. When news reached the ears of the High Priest, Eli, he fell back, broke his fat neck, and died. His daughter-in-law, who’s husband died in the battle, went into labor and had a son. She named him Ichabod, “the glory is departed” from Israel.

I noticed that while reading these chapters that the people did not lament for the absence of the presence of God. They did not reestablish the tabernacle (which represented their relationship with God) even after the ark was returned to the land.

Instead, they demanded a king.

This is America!

We no longer cry out for revival. Christians have either become propagandist for the conservative Republican party or the liberal Democratic party. Right-wing Christians and left-wing Christians are both hateful and nasty in their own unique way. Judgmental and angry. Bitter and spiteful. It is heartbreaking.

The answer is Jesus. It is the gospel! Not some political leader.

I have seen several high profile Christian preachers push a pause button on preaching the gospel to start preaching their presidential candidate. What? You have stopped preaching the answer to start preaching a king?

“We want a king to fight our battles!” This is the cry from Facebook Christians.

“We want a king!”

When the presence of God has departed the people will always demand a king. They will religiously justify their choice. They will turn a blind eye from godless character and say that it doesn’t matter because their hot button issue will be solved if their candidate gets into office.

NO, it will NOT!

Abortion will not be solved by electing a king. Racial injustice and mass incarceration will not be solved by electing a king.

Our problem is sin! Sin cannot be solved legislatively. Jesus provided the answer. The gospel.

Please, Christians, stop preaching your king and start preaching the gospel.

I have heard all my life that this election is the most important in our lifetime and we must make the right decision in this urgent hour. How many lifetimes do we live? The lifetime that we must worry about is our eternal life. Eternity is at stake. Lives are dying and going to hell by the hundreds of thousands on a weekly basis. Like a huge bulldozer pushing the lost souls into the pit of eternal damnation and not a single voice to shout STOP! It grieves my heart.

I have so much more to say on this topic. America is in desperate need for the presence of God. To reestablish the tabernacle of worship (which is God’s presence in skin). To cry out for revival. To stop preaching selfish, religious, false doctrine and start preaching the raw, unadulterated gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Lastly, what am I saying? Should Christians not vote? Yes, Christians should vote. This election there is not an easy answers. I personally really like Evan McMullen but he is not an approved write-in for the state of Florida. I am asking those who are called to preach to go back to preaching the gospel on Sunday mornings. I am asking all Christians to remember that the power of life and death are in the tongue. Stop spreading the death language of politics and start spreading the good news of Jesus. Do you want to stop abortion? Preach Jesus. Do you want to stop injustice? Preach Jesus.

My father and I use to have many fun, friendly debates about politics. I took the role of the Republican fighting for justice and religious rights and he would take the side of the Democrat fighting for the common blue collar worker. Then we would hug and agree with one another on the answer.

Jesus.

*Feel free to connect with me on Facebook or comment below if you have questions or need further clarification.