Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Living Among the Philistines:

There is an interesting verse in I Samuel. Saul and the people of Israel are arrayed in battle against the Philistines (the Israelites seem to actually be hiding in the hills). Jonathan has gone out with his man servant and has killed twenty men of the garrison of the Philistines and the battle is engaged. Saul calls the army out, they engage the Philistines, and then we have this odd text, “Now the Hebrews who had been with the Philistines before that time and who had gone up with them into the camp, even they also turned to be with the Israelites who were with Saul and Jonathan” [1 Samuel 14:21]. There are a number of “Christians” who, at the moment, are on the wrong side and are encamped with the Philistines.

What is a Philistine? The Urban Dictionary reveals the nature of the Philistine army encampment around us, and many “Christians” are essentially low-brow materialists who make their home among the “philistines” living solely for bread and circuses; not only that, but they are defiantly happy to do so. I present you the Urban Dictionary definition:

“Philistine = No Culture . A conformist in everything they do. A person who is obsessed with sports, sex … and Motor vehicles. They listen to whatever everyone else is listening to (especially if it is Country Music, Classic Rock, … Limp Bizkit or rap/Hip Hop…) They wear whatever everyone else is wearing, and avoid anything that is in the least bit unusual, unique, or eccentric. They tend to have little to no use for art, [seem to] be of limited intelligence, be obsessed with such things as NASCAR, golf, Hunting and Fishing, and tend to drive gas guzzling vehicles like SUVs and Extended cab Pickup Trucks. They are the fuel behind reality television… (They have) No capability of thinking outside the box or any other sort of critical thinking for that matter. The United States is dominated by Philistines.”

From a Christian perspective the Urban Dictionary, is a classic version of the Philistine viewpoint. It is “cultured” philistinism, and fails to see the greater perspective that there is a whole world outside of materialism.  The American Christian today who emerges from the ranks of the Philistines is often stunned to discover a whole world of beauty and joy in the realm of Christian Life and Spirituality. While they may enjoy the culture, art, music, and sports of Philistia they don’t live there. Their heart’s home and allegiance is the Kingdom of God.

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