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Jesus is Opposed to the American Dream

Jesus’ worldview is in violent opposition to the “American dream” that we live here in the 21st-century. We see that in the gospels as he starts his ministry. He spells it out to his disciples (Matthew 5–7). Then he models it for them (Matthew 8–9). Then he calls his disciples to l…
By Seth Barnes

Jesus’ worldview is in violent opposition to the “American dream” that we live here in the 21st-century. We see that in the gospels as he starts his ministry.

He spells it out to his disciples (Matthew 5–7).

Then he models it for them (Matthew 8–9).

Then he calls his disciples to live it in Matthew 10.

If you read those passages and absorb them, as a disciple of Jesus here in America, you will experience cognitive dissonance. I have been experiencing cognitive dissonance for 25 years!

One of the first people to hear me articulate my struggle with Matthew 10 in 1991 was a Presbyterian pastor who wanted to come on staff at Adventures, but who was secretly struggling with sexual addiction.

Eventually, I unearthed his secret and didn’t hire him. He died several years later of AIDS, his worldview sadly out of sync with his life.

There is another guy I know who grabbed the golden ring in the American dream merry-go-round. He started a company that went public and made him buckets of money. He came to me this past year and said, “I haven’t been relevant in 10 years. I want to be relevant.” This is the hollow fruit of the American dream.

As I continue to walk out my faith with fear and trembling, I daily have to recognize that I am not a human being having a temporary spiritual experience, but a spiritual being having a temporary human experience. That worldview shapes how I live and what I commit to.

How about you? How much have you bought into the American dream? How does it impact your choices and the way you organize your life? Following Jesus requires a counter-culture lifestyle. Better a wakeup call now rather than later.

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