The Deadly the American Dream: A Warm Retirement

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

If you are an American, then you have been sold a lie. You have been told from birth that your life should be one of accumulation of personal wealth, banking on portfolios and looking forward to the blessed hope of retirement.

But he said to him, "A man once gave a great banquet and invited many. And at the time for the banquet he sent his servant to say to those who had been invited, 'Come, for everything is now ready.' But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said to him, 'I have bought a field, and I must go out and see it. Please have me excused.' And another said, 'I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to examine them. Please have me excused.' And another said, 'I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.' So the servant came and reported these things to his master. Then the master of the house became angry and said to his servant, 'Go out quickly to the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in the poor and crippled and blind and lame.' And the servant said, 'Sir, what you commanded has been done, and still there is room.' And the master said to the servant, 'Go out to the highways and hedges and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled. For I tell you, none of those men who were invited shall taste my banquet.'"
(Luke 14:16-24)

God has blessed our country with much wealth, but we have become worse than Sodom:

Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy. They were haughty and did an abomination before me. So I removed them, when I saw it.
(Ezekiel 16:49-50)

We are devastatingly banal. We have settled for the mundane. We think that a field will fulfill. We think a new car will elevate our existence. Our socioeconomic status is our strength. We are at ease in our air-conditioned houses with space-age mattresses. We need desperately to be gripped by a reality that is bigger than a 401k.

We are so far removed from the New Testament's context of suffering that we miss the point of the hope of an eternal vision of Christ's glory. The infinite majesty that brought all things into existence has been exchanged by our society for a comfortable fifty-or-so years at the end of one's life. This is absolutely absurd. Either God satisfies or money satisfies. We are all guilty. We have bought the dream, and it has cost us our souls.

For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul? (Matthew 16:26)

God may give us what we want: a warm retirement....