Search this site:



Contemporary Christianity

Facilitating discussion among Christians on critical topics that we prefer to ignore.

Last modified Sept. 20, 2016

  Click here for the main page for this study
  Click here for the main page for our discussion questions
Q5 was discussed in class at Fairlawn Mennonite Church on Sept. 18, 2016

Is there anything about “the American Dream” that hinders our being Luke 9:23-26 followers of Jesus?

PLEASE UNDERSTAND that I'm not trying to bash "America" in any way, but I do hope to communicate my concern that we American Christians find our identity and sense of well-being in the benefits and life of America to a degree that it detracts from our identity in the Kingdom of God and in the life He offers. We will always have some of each, but one is primary, and that matters!
First, we looked at the meaning of "life" in those verses. It is not speaking of life in the sense of existence, but of abundant life. It is the Greek word zoe, which is also used in John 3:16. Jesus is saying that if we want abundant life, we must die to our compulsion to define "the good life" in our own way. We must surrender our will, to His. The article ETERNAL LIFE TODAY, TOMORROW, FOREVER explains zoe more fully.
  Then we looked at "The American Dream."
1.  the ideals of freedom, equality, and opportunity traditionally held to be available to every American.
2.  a life of personal happiness and material comfort as traditionally sought by individuals in the U.S.

The American Dream is a national ethos of the United States, the set of ideals (Democracy, Rights, Liberty, Opportunity, and Equality) in which freedom includes the opportunity for prosperity and success, and an upward social mobility for the family and children, achieved through hard work in a society with few barriers. In the definition of the American Dream by James Truslow Adams in 1931, "life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement" regardless of social class or circumstances of birth. - The American Dream is rooted in the Declaration of Independence, which proclaims that "all men are created equal" with the right to "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

- Some discussion then on the "happiness" aspect of this and the fact that God doesn't promise us happiness.

- Discussed that it is altogether earth/human focused, with no reference to God or to the way He defines life, which is that true life comes through relationship with Him.
- There were several comments about what all this means to us in terms of how we see "The American dream" being expressed in our own lives.
- We ended part way through the question on whether we American Christians equate democracy with Christianity, because of the good benefits of democracy. Is democracy the most godly form of government, or the only godly form? Is there any risk in equating the two?
The American Dream offers opportunity for both the flesh and the Spirit. We'll talk about that more in Q6.
When you think about "The American Dream" and try to fit it into Luke 9:23-26, it simply doesn't fit does it?. Isn't it like trying to put a square peg in a round hole! Each has its own definition of "the good life" and we need to choose!!
Your thoughts? Email:
Please share these resources with your friends!
Friends of   © 2016 John
All rights reserved.