“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good fro anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men.” (Matthew 5:13)
The frog sat bathing contentedly in his nice warm pot. Sniff… sniff… What was that he smelled? It had happened little by little. He hadn’t even noticed that he was being poached ever so gradually. By the time he started to smell frog soup it was too late. Dinner was about to be served!
Little by little our moral acuity is being dulled by our culture. Remember President Clinton’s impeachment trial (some of you were around back then). He was asked, “Is this or is this not adultery?” This intelligent, church-going world leader gave the definitive post modern, amoral answer: “It depends on what your definition of ‘is’ is!” Millions of people found that answer acceptable, maybe even comforting.
Our culture is having a numbing effect on the church-world as well. It’s anesthetizing Christians, moving us towards a kind of moral apathy. The bar is being lowered without us hardly noticing or maybe, hardly caring. Many of us actually believe that because we have moral standards higher than lets say, Bernie Madoff, we’re doing good. We tell ourselves, “At least I’m not as bad as… or go as far as…”, as we sit like the frog, oblivious to the damage being done and the danger we’re in. While divorce rates, out-of-wedlock births, lawsuits and even suicide among believers mirror the rest of society! Are we losing our saltiness?
When Jesus envisioned his Church, I don’t think he had in mind people that were slightly better and a little different. He said, “Be perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect.” I think he was envisioning extraordinary people. He was calling us to excel – to rise above mediocrity with the help he would supply, becoming fully mature human beings that resembled him.
I think he imagined us being a community of people that stand out in Technicolor in contrast to a morally gray world. We’re to be as radically different as Jesus was from the society of his day, even as we radically identify with the pain and suffering of our fellow sinners.
We’re not just to be moral people. We’re to be more than that. We’re to be Christians – people who live like Jesus lived and do the things that he did, the way he did them – with love and humility by the grace of God and the power of the Holy Spirit.
We’re to be different and our difference, while upsetting the cultural apple cart at times will bring hope to many who are stuck and drowning in the moral morass that threatens us all.
Sniff… sniff… What’s that I smell cooking? Hope it’s not me.