We worship God because He is, and He is there; not because He happens to be what we’re looking for — what meets our needs right now. God does meet our needs, but He meets our real needs, not our “felt” needs. Our “felt” needs tend to be more closely associated with our wants, and God knows that what we want is not always the best thing for us. All it takes to learn that lesson is to raise a child through adolescence.
We follow Christ because He called us to, not because it’s going to feel good for us if we do. In fact, several times Jesus warned that those who followed Him would have a tougher road than those who don’t.
The danger of pragmatic Christianity is that it limits the mind to the practical. Truth is reduced to what works. The pragmatic Christian mind does not even try to reach beyond what it can grasp. We don’t need to have inquiring minds or the patience to contemplate and explore our world — we are too busy explaining everything. Instead of inquiring into God’s vast universe, our minds are already made up. There are no open ends. Instead of pulling up the planks of a platform of ideas to see what is underneath, historically and biblically, pragmatic Christians want all their ideas nailed down.
Walk into a Christian bookstore and look at how many books follow the premise of “this is what’s wrong with you and this is how we’re going to fix it.” Flip the book over and it will tell you how reading this book is going to make your life better. Imagine turning over a book and finding: “Read this book; it will make your life miserable!” Indeed, I have a friend — a pastor — who published a book titled: When Will My Life Not Suck? and the answer very boldly of him, is: probably never!
It may be that people, especially young people, might be finally tired of getting what they want. Some of them are deciding there must be more to life that just being happy. In a news interview I caught recently, an expert on Islam was asked why so many young people from all over the world are joining up with the Islamic State. His answer was basically that western culture offers young people a good time; the Islamic State offers them struggle, danger, and death. What would you choose?
I get this. Even though I’m not young anymore, I still want to go out in a blaze of glory, battling evil in the service of the King, not in a recliner in front of a TV.
If anyone is looking for adventure, they need not look any farther than Christianity. A little reading of the gospels convinces me that I already have this. I’m following Jesus, and Jesus never offered anyone a good time. For 2,000 years He’s been offering people the same thing: struggle, danger, and death, and most of us are already signed up. Read the fine print: you’re on the cutting edge of adventure! Stop fighting it, and go with it. Find out what you’re here for.