April 11, 2005
John 11:44 And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth. And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go.
The starvation of Terri Schiavo reminded me of Jesus and His raising of Lazarus from the dead.
In the grave for four days, Jesus was able to breathe life back into the dormant body of Lazarus. He was raised from the grave, but Lazarus still wasn't free He was born again, but bound. Alive, but looking dead. Isn't that a picture of modern Christianity?
Is there hope for America? Can Jesus, as He did with Lazarus, breathe new life into an old body? Is it too late to awaken the church from its slumber?
John 11:11 Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go that I may awake him out of his sleep.
Like many others, I have spent the past few weeks trying to figure out the message that God was sending us through the Terri Schiavo starvation. I have heard many different views on the topic. Some have said it was God's way of telling us to get a living will. Others, that it was a cry to America to get some conservative judges. I heard one wonk say it was God's way of showing us how hypocritical we are in the sanctity-of-marriage debate either the union is sacred, or it is not.
I think the message is much deeper, much more profound.
Terri Schiavo is a mirror. She is a reflection of ourselves and of what we have become. Look in the mirror. She is us.
I spent my life coaching. My job was to look for weaknesses, not only in our opponents, but more importantly, weak spots of our own. I never walked into a locker room at halftime, when we were behind, and patted the boys on the back and told them what a great job they were doing. It was a time for correction and admonition. Real men can handle criticism. I'd kick a trashcan, bang a locker, throw a watch, not because we were losing, but because I expected better from them.
We Christians can do so much better. So, like the old Coach that I am, I break down the game films. The eye in the sky does not lie, and I ask the question no one else has the courage to broach.
Are Christians in a Persistent Vegetative State?
In 1994 a Multi-Society Task Force produced a Consensus Statement on the Medical Aspects of the Persistent Vegetative State (PVS). A wakeful unconscious state that lasts longer than a few weeks.
The vegetative state can be diagnosed according to the following criteria; (1) no evidence of awareness of self or environment and an inability to interact with others; (2) no evidence of sustained, reproducible, purposeful, or voluntary behavioral responses to visual, auditory, tactile, or noxious stimuli; (3) no evidence of language comprehension or expression; (4) intermittent wakefulness manifested by the presence of sleep-wake cycles;
Let's break down the film, frame by frame.
1. No evidence of awareness of self or environment and an inability to interact with others;
Most of the efforts of today's modern, evanjellyfish Christians are inward focused, oblivious to their responsibility to go into all the world teaching them all I have commanded you. Like Terri, church, for many, has become nothing more than a feeding tube. Remove the feeding tube of financial prosperity and see how long many ministries will survive. Content, to pray for a bigger house, faster car, and more of God's blessings to be poured out upon our selfish little selves, Christians have denied the call to take up your cross, to lay down your life, to occupy till He returns.
Does the average church-goer know how to share the Gospel with his lost friends? Does he even know the Gospel? Don't most have to invite their friends to church, so that the Pastor can do the job of connecting them to the feeding tube? We have lost our ability to interact with others in a meaningful, spiritual way, outside our own church environment.
(2) No evidence of sustained, reproducible, purposeful, or voluntary behavioral responses to visual, auditory, tactile, or noxious stimuli.
Our culture is careening towards depravity, and the world, like electric shock paddles jolting the heart, is sending shock waves through the church, probing for any sign of life.
- 45 million unborn babies slaughtered. Zap. No response.
- 50% of the marriages in the church end in divorce. Zap. No response
- Openly-homosexual pastors. Zap. No response.
- Removal of prayer from our schools. Zap. No response.
- 70% of black children born to fatherless homes. Zap. No response.
- The lie of separation of church and state. Zap. No response.
- Desperate Housewives is more popular than church. Zap. No response.
America was glued to the TV for 13 days while an innocent, handicapped woman was starved, by court order, before our very eyes. Police officers arrested those trying to save her life, while they protected those who murdered her. A constant bombardment of the surreal demeaned this tragedy into nothing more than the latest episode of Survivor.
Meanwhile 20 million copies of Purpose Driven Life become the feeding tube in churches all across once-Christian America, as church-goers struggle for some meaning to their lives.
The Body has a pulse, but even when shocked, it does not respond to stimuli.
(3) no evidence of language comprehension or expression;
The Christian voice has been muted in the culture. Before it was shushed into silence, the pulpit, once the rudder of the American ship, was the thermostat that controlled the American environment. Fed the constant refrain of separation of church and state, and obedient to anti-God policies ordering them to keep your faith to yourself, we have permitted the enemy of our soul free reign. Dumb Dogs, afraid to bark Isaiah said, we have allowed the moral issues to be classified as political issues and have placed a self-imposed muzzle over our own mouth, merely whimpering as we peep at the wolf at our door. Having surrendered our right to speak on the real issues of the day, we have turned inward with a gospel of life-enhancement, built bigger fortresses in which to hide, and trusted the Republicans and the conservatives to do our barking for us. Like Terri found out, it is dangerous to have someone else speak for you.
(4) intermittent wakefulness manifested by the presence of sleep-wake cycles;
We wake up every once in awhile. Over a dozen different states have stood for the sanctity of marriage, led, in most part by the influence of Christians. According to the polls, it was the values voters, another term for Christians, who turned out in record numbers and propelled President Bush to a second term. Like Gulliver, the body will occasionally awaken, and surprised by what has happened over the years, flex a muscle or two. But our enemy lies in wait. They have seen this happen before. Given enough time, they know that we will return to rest, tethered to the feeding tube, and the safety of the pew, content to allow hired mercenaries to fight God's battles, without God's power. Psalm 127 Unless the Lord builds the house, those that build it labor in vain.
Boy, Coach, folks say to me, you sure spend a lot of time hammering the church. We need to stick together. You are fighting the wrong battle.
I try to coach the church. People get mad; they can't take criticism, so they shoot the messenger. Christians can't figure out why God's team can't win. They want to blame the Democrats, or liberals, or progressives, or the judges. But when I look in the mirror, I see my reflection. The films don't lie. We are the Salt, as Jesus warned, that has become good for nothing, but to be cast out and trodden under the foot of men.
Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall.
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
All of the King's horses, and all of the King's men
Couldn't put Humpty Dumpty back together again.
When will we learn our lesson? Why is it that when America faces a moral crisis we turn to government, to the King's men, if you will? We delude ourselves into believing that somehow, this time, we can count on evil men to do good. We could take a lesson from the story of Humpty Dumpty. The King's horses and King's men were powerless to help. Humpty, like Lazarus, should have called on the King.
Christ has done His part. He is waiting for us to do ours. He has left the care of America to His church.
After Lazarus was raised, Christ turned to those who had witnessed it and admonished them to complete the job. Loose him, he said to the church, and let him go. It's our turn now.
While the church prays for revival in the world, the world waits for revival in the church. We can win the fight America can be great again. But Christ is waiting on us.
The stone has been rolled away. America, a bound up, lost, dressed-in-graveclothes nation is waiting on our next move. The ball is in our court.
John 11:23 Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again.
Christians, Come Forth
© 2005 Dave Daubenmire – All Rights Reserved. Used with Permission