08 January 2012


You know what? America can be really stupid. I mean, I don't want to come off like a jerk, but... oh, I don't care; I probably will.

This whole American Dream thing, this whole "pull yourself up by your own bootstraps" and "you can do anything if you believe and try hard enough" thing sometimes makes me angry. Very angry. Because, first of all, it's stupid. Humans have limitations. I will never qualify for the Olympics and I don't think I ever could have. I honestly don't think I could have passed college physics, no matter how much I studied or was tutored. My brain just doesn't work very well in that area.

The thing about saying that in America is people will assume I'm selling myself short when, honestly, I'm just being factual. It's stupid to say I could make an A in a college physics class because a horse has about the same chance of making an A in college physics, or qualifying for the Olympics for that matter. It's foolishness to believe that anyone can do anything if they believe they can and try hard enough.

But there's something more sinister in it. Or at least more worrisome. Americans have a hard time really actually believing that they NEED Jesus. That they can't get to Heaven by trying to be a good person. In fact, they balk when you admit that you aren't a good person. But none of us is. In my nature, I'm a bad person. I'm selfish and I want what I want and I don't really care about what you want or need unless it makes me feel good to do so. [and please, don't try to argue with me about this; I promise that I know myself better than you know me. I live with me all the time.]

I know that I'm a particularly selfish person, so don't feel like you have to agree with me on everything. I just mean, if we believe what the Bible says about sin, we cannot possibly believe that we are good people on our own. But it took me a really long time (20 years, in fact) to see that I couldn't turn my own life around. And when I don't rely on Jesus, I fall into the same sins (maybe to a lesser extent on the outside, but the heart is what matters). When I don't submit myself to the Holy Spirit, I'm still rebellious in my heart; I'm still a liar, a critic; I'm lustful, hateful, and incredibly selfish. In short, I fail. I'm a failure.

But that is the beauty of my God. His power is made perfect in my weakness. The faith that I have is not reliant on things I do or do not; it trusts that He will complete the good work He began in me. I have no bootstraps to pull on. No matter how hard I try, I cannot transform myself into Christ-likeness. I cannot make myself be good (or not for very long at all). But I don't have to rely on myself. Thank God!

So America, get over yourselves. You're hindering the Gospel.


  1. May I suggest your last line as a book title, or at least a magazine article, about the same topic?

  2. ya!
    I don't really have anything to add, I just wanted you to know that I wholeheartedly agree.

  3. so true. i've thought about that before~ another thing that this mindset prevents is furthering the next generation in wisdom and in the kingdom. in a culture that lets kids do everything from scratch they aren't afforded the inheritance of having their parent's "ceiling" be their "floor"... instead the next generation starts all over again, trying to figure out life on their own... you see this in the church especially... where is the spiritual inheritance and the wisdom of the fathers of the younger generations? good, i made it to where i am on my own but i sure wish i would have had spiritual fathers pouring into me before i was 20 years old. and now my spiritual fathers are 30 years old? i mean, really... okay, yes, there are some older spiritual fathers, but as a whole, the church has failed to do this in a lot of ways. i want to propel my children to go farther than me. not watch them fight to get to where i got... yah i want them to learn about good work ethic and a good fight-- but come on... there should be an inheritance for them! after all, even Jesus said that we would do greater works than him! he didn't say, oh work really hard and maybe you'll get to where i was seeing some miracles. no, he said even greater things we would do than him! that's the inheritance! sadly, as selfish humans, we don't think like that. the question i pose is (not necessarily for you michelle but in general), what are you leaving for your children and are you propelling them to go farther than you? with the typical American mindset, that is normaly not the case.