IMMIGRATION & COMMANDMENT ONE: NO OTHER GODS
We have to be vigilant to check our aspiration that Christianity receive popular applause by media like popular music, popular dance, popular art, public speeches, political campaigns. Chief of all these reasons is that Christianity, being intrinsically unique to the make-up of the cosmos, should not be cast as hinging upon transient forms. On the other hand, we should not be surprised when Christianity receives periodic acclaim or "equal footing" with other faiths or value systems. It makes all the sense in the world for Christianity to periodically receive positive coverage in a polytheistic world, because polytheism thrives upon its leveling the playing field by its promotion of diversity.
Any Christian ideology aspiring that God achieve an equal-opportunity footing with other world-views acquiesces to polytheism's strength which is diversity. Particularly in the Nashville area, I have been concerned that Christians wrongly have felt the world spirit to be more accepting of Christianity than before because of the saturation of Christian goods. The dominant presence of Christian content in the market-place gives the illusion that Christianity is aggressively competitive with its “secular” counterparts.
I would not describe it as evangelical progress to hail the marketability of “Christian” goods as a victory, because the market is not comprehensive of Christianity. A commodity that sells well now will not necessarily sell well later, and the Christian faith is most certainly not a commodity. If one views the financial market as the microcosm of spiritual warfare, then one is certainly not fighting a comprehensive battle on even the most basic level. Further, if we believe the financial market to be where the religious battle lies, then by default Christian facsimiles in the marketplace make an allowance for a plurality of gods. Why? Because it concedes to polytheism’s strength which is the diversity of our capitalistic economy.
Surely, we must have an entirely other focus that includes, but is not limited to, the material. For example, that evangelical strategy championing the translation of Veggie Tales into Spanish as an effective means for evangelizing young Mexicans is a materialistic truncation of The Great Commission. Why? Because it converges evangelical success upon the viability of the financial market (aka, so that when Spanish Veggie Tales is selling, the Gospel is "going forth."). The net result is that the effectual move of the Holy Spirit becomes determined by the results of the Profit & Loss statement. What happens if the Profit & Loss statement indicates profitability (aka, an effectual move of the Holy Spirit)? The production and shipment of more Spanish Veggie Tales DVDs. What, then is repentance? The purchase of more product by Spanish-speaking consumers.
A clever strategy employing the financial market (but does not limit it to the market) is the ESL program (English as a Second Language). It is a product, because it demands some form of financial compensation to insure its operation. Say that a group of Chinese immigrants wants to learn formal or conversational English. The product into which the Chinese immigrants would be "buying" would be English through the ESL program. The question the Christian should ask is “What form of conversation shall I use? What conversation is relevant?" It is no breach of ESL to employ Christian tenets of philosophy as cultural talking points, as springboards or speed-bumps for relevant discussions about American customs. Such an education gives the Chinese immigrant a wider and more appropriate understanding of and appreciation for American culture. Don't we want them to be better off?