I have a question for which I don’t have the answer. A few days ago American Christianity entered a new chapter. The previous chapter in history ended with the Supreme Court’s decision to overrule thousands of years of human understanding and Biblical principle. American culture has slowly turned from a place of honoring Christian faith to one of increasing uncomfortableness and distrust. Political leaders are now demanding that the church change its doctrines instead of looking to the church for wisdom and guidance. Civic organizations increasingly schedule events which force folks to choose between church and some desirable event. The question I have is how are we to be salt to a world that would rather have something sweet?
Jesus declared, ““You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men.” (Matthew 5:13, NASB95) When Jesus made that declaration it was also a time of divided loyalties which battled between the religious and the secular. The Pharisees leaned on legalism, the Sadducees on appeasement, the Essenes sought separation, the zealots sought revolt, the Sanhedrin was split, the ruling family was corrupt, and the Romans brutal as they tried maintain peace. Rome would eventually get fed up with wasting troops and treasury on what they saw as a backwater country. In the midst of all of those various social pressures Jesus expected His followers to be salt to the world around them.
In all of this I think about Lot, Abraham’s nephew. He chose to live in the cities of Sodom and Gomorra, among those wealthy but hostile to his beliefs. I remember Abraham’s haggling with God over sparing the cities if there are righteous folks within their walls. Whenever I read that story I see an implication, an expectation from Abraham for Lot to have had a positive, salt-like influence on the cities. Isn’t it ironic that Lot’s wife turned to a pillar of salt when she looked back. Perhaps it is God’s reminder of the salt of righteousness they withheld from their neighbors and friends. Keep in mind that Lot did not live separated from the society in the cities but sat in the gate as some form of elder or leader. (Genesis 19:1)
So, in light of the new chapter we have entered into Jesus’ followers in the USA have to learn how to be salt to an increasingly hostile society. That’s the question and I don’t have the answers. Lambchow has readers across the globe. Some are in countries where they have had to be salt to a less-than-accepting society. Some live in countries that ignore or are even hostile to the church. Some live in places where loyalties are sharply divided. It is time for American Christians to humble ourselves and ask for their help, for their wisdom, and for their prayers as we enter uncharted waters. It is to them that I ask – how are we to be salt to a world that no longer desires it?
Usually at this point I have a challenge, an invitation, or an encouragement to offer. Instead I have a request. I would love to hear your thoughts to the question that is facing the American church – – how are we to be salt to a world that no longer desires it? I plan on compiling those thoughts and answers into a second article. I’m especially anxious to hear from followers of Lambchow in those countries that have lived in that kind of environment for many years. Please share the wisdom of your experience with us. You can either leave your thoughts in the comments area below or email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. I am looking forward to hearing from you.