My wife and I just came from one of the most disheartening documentaries we’ve ever seen. It was called The Insanity of God. We walked into it with little to no understanding of what we were watching.
The film is based on a book of the same name, and is pretty much a long edited interview with a missionary worker named Nik Ripken, supplemented in pieces with his wife providing commentary when relevant. The interview was his retelling of his own journey of discovery of what it really means to follow God, which involved multiple Christians’ stories of persecution for their faith.
It is very clear that whoever made this film had a hard time with what Nik Ripken was really trying to say.
Everything in the documentary led up to a profound question: “Is giving up everything for Jesus, including your family, really worth it for you?” It would have ended on a truly poignant and profound uneasiness that would have followed any warm-blooded American out the theater and stayed with them on the drive home.
Unfortunately, somewhere in the production cycle they decided that a behind-the-scenes interview with the couple and David Platt was justified to lighten the mood. It was a whole lot of talking about nothing in particular, and felt like a behind-the-scenes bonus reel that makes you feel justified to buy the Collector’s Edition version of Caddyshack.
At the end of any other documentary that sheds light on a humanitarian issue, there is a strong call to action at the end that is supposed to force change. The need for Christ in nations that don’t have access to it is the greatest humanitarian issue in existence, and they mishandled it in a way that makes me want to cry and scream at the same time.
The entire tone that Nik was talking in continued to bring uneasiness into the situation, but I imagine the American Church won’t be ready for it until there’s more money made on things to kill them than on things to make them happy.
To follow Christ means you have given up your life for something greater. The film’s message is asking you to gear up, but the subtext and culture of the theater we were in is asking for you to get popcorn. Unfortunately, this isn’t the Lord’s way.
God has a profound purpose for your life if you’re reading it. The big question is whether you want to be used for Him to beat you and hurt you to make you whimper his name in cowardice or if you want Him to empower you with His Spirit to take on the forces of evil with a bold roar and passion that will make the world tremble in confusion.
Most of this fear is connected to Satan’s attempt to keep American Christians asleep. How many of these excuses apply to you?
- I have a family I need to take care of
- I’m trying to get ahead in my career
- I need to be loving, which means I shouldn’t share the Gospel
- There’s no time for me to do it
- I have ____ I need to be at
- You’re just being mean
- Don’t judge!
- That’s not how Jesus would say it
- (indignant silence)
The temple tables in Jesus’ time were likely made of granite, and I guarantee you that when Jesus was silent in the Pharisees’ kangaroo court he didn’t look defeated and miserable. Every prophet under the sun has been a bit of a transient. The biggest growth in the Church has come under the oppressive thumb of [dead dictator]. If you aggregate the numerical data, persecution against Christians is actually a more common behavior of the average person than acceptance of them. How much more evidence do you need?
There is a definitive change that needs to come, and it’s not through creating an insulated subculture that protects you. In the words of the hair-metal Christian band Petra:
Looking through rose-colored stained glass windows
Never allowing the world to come in
Seeing no evil and feeling no pain
Making that light that comes from within so dim