“I am somewhat disappointed in your children. Since they are Christians, I expected that they would be concerned about spiritual things. Instead, they are more materialistic than the Marxist youth in my country. They seem to be devoid of any lofty, idealistic vision.” And this coming from a Marxist!
In his book Wake Up America!: Answering God’s Radical Call While Living in the Real World Tony Campolo tells about once giving a group of top educators from the old Soviet Union a tour of his ministry’s work. The group included the rectors of two very prestigious universities and the Russian Deputy Minister of Education. Tony showed them their children’s programs, their youth clubs, even their Christian school for disadvantaged children.
Finally, after a long day of visits, interviews, and much note taking, they joined in a time of debriefing. Tony asked them what they thought about what they had observed throughout the day. Their response was surprising. “These teenagers are so materialistic!” they remarked. “All that these young people talked about was making money.” The Deputy Minister of Education added, somewhat hesitantly, “I am somewhat disappointed in your children. Since they are Christians, I expected that they would be concerned about spiritual things. Instead, they are more materialistic than the Marxist youth in my country. They seem to be devoid of any lofty, idealistic vision.” And this coming from a Marxist!
Tony reflected upon this experience:
“I asked myself if Christian kids in America have always been this way. . . Has the spirit of idealism departed from our collective consciousness without our being aware of it? Can it be that, in an era when religion has become one of the most prominent features of our culture, we Americans have lost our guiding inner light and lofty calling?
. . . I have to admit that I sense that something has been lost to America. I have a feeling that the sacredness of our national character has been ‘slipsliding’ away.”
I’m afraid Tony may be right. And our children learned it from their parents! It’s not just the secular materialists in our country. Many church pews are packed on Sunday with materialists who claim to be Christians. The conversations around the church coffee pot are much the same as those around the company water cooler. Maybe a few less curse words, but just as materialistic.
I love the title to Campolo’s book: Wake Up America! Answering God’s Radical Call While Living in the Real World. But I’m afraid most Christians don’t even realize that God’s call is a radical call.
Let’s get personal for just a moment. Do YOU feel that God has a radical call on your life? How are you responding to that call? Do you have a “spirit of idealism” as mentioned by Tony Campolo? Have you lost your “lofty, idealistic vision?” Would you consider yourself a materialist or do spiritual matters mean the most in your life? I invite you to respond in the Comments section below.