April 9, 2014

I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot. So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth. Revelation 3:15, 16

Americans, especially young adults, are disconnected to the national parks, says National Park Service director Jon Jarvis.

In a recent article in The Salt Lake Tribune, Jarvis discusses a current attempt to repeal the Antiquities Act (which gives the president the authority to proclaim national monuments), and spending cuts that have had adverse affects on the parks (the good news is that President Obama’s 2015 budget increases park funding).

“What I sense with the flattening of visitation, the budget issues and the legislative attacks is that they are symptoms of the waning relevancy of the [National Park Service] to the American people…It’s a lack of understanding what the National Park Service provides to society,” he noted in the article. “It is more broad than the economic impacts. It is about quality of life; secret and incredible places that can be life-changing.”

“We are looking at the millennials; that 18 to 35 group,” he went on. “It appears they have a feeling of disconnect for a variety of reasons. We are working to understand how they see the world.”

His remarks come on the heels of an NBC/Wall Street Journal survey that finds 21% of Americans feel religion is not that important, and most of that number are under the age of 35.

While I care that there’s a large group that doesn’t understand the value and wonder of our national parks, I find the latter statistic much more disconcerting. I once read a column in which a psychologist stated that the opposite of love isn’t hate, it’s indifference. That surprised me until I thought about it some more. Love and hate are passionate emotions, but at least they’re feelings. Indifference is nothing—no caring, no interest, no concern. It’s blah and “so what?” and “who cares?”. In today’s vernacular, the word is “meh.” It’s a terrible, disconnected way to live. As the lyrics of a popular and catchy mid-20th century song put it: “Accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative, latch on to the affirmative, don’t mess with Mister In Between.”

Jesus graphically illustrates just such a view in Revelation. An apathetic attitude toward Him is so repulsive that it makes Him puke.

In Mark chapter 8, Jesus questioned His disciples as to who others thought He was: “John the Baptist; and others say Elijah; but others, one of the prophets,” they answered. Then He challenged them: “But who do you say that I am?” Peter replied, “You are the Christ” (vv. 27-29).

So the question for you this Easter season is the same: Who is Jesus, and more importantly, what will you do with Him? Will you say, “Yeah, He was a good person,” or even, “Sure, I believe He was God,” then stuff Him in your hip pocket and proceed to live the way you want, on your own terms, perhaps only pulling Him out when you’re in trouble to see if maybe He can or will help?

That’s not love—it’s indifference, a take-it-or-leave-it stance that signals a blasé coolness toward the incredible and life-changing claim of Christ: “If anyone loves Me, he will obey My teaching. My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him” (John 14: 23).

Or will you agree with the apostle John’s magnificent declaration: “This is how God showed His love among us: He sent His one and only Son into the world that we might live through Him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins…We love because He first loved us” (1 John 4:9, 10, 19).

Living in the gray area of our own brand of “spirituality” (2 Timothy 4:3, 4) may seem like an okay option today, but the Bible warns that what seems right right now can lead instead to destruction (Proverbs 14:12).

Examine Scripture and take a stance. Be hot or cold—just don’t be found in between.

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