Elastic and Plastic America

Do you want Italian food? You can have the whole experience because look–there’s a fake Tuscan villa you can go to. Mexican? Welcome to the adobe brick hacienda. You vant ze Cherman? Vee can do zat. Welcome to the German restaurant complete with beer steins and waitresses in those cute little dirndls. You want Australian? Welcome to the Australian themed restaurant. Here’s the Irish pub. There’s the Indian Palace.

The whole place is like a plastic Disneyland.

Everything is a  themed experience. Even when you think you’ve found authentic Americana it turns out to be Cracker Barrel with country memorabilia pasted to the walls and a phony General Store.

Perhaps I am being harsh, but this lust for the artificial buzz, the fake experience and the stimulating crap is deeply demoralizing and the constant fakery we live with every day erodes our efforts at authenticity, genuine reality, honesty and truth.

While we suck up the fake experience we also run as fast as we can from the harsh realities of life. We watch “reality TV shows” which we know are staged and crafted, but we go along with the fakery because it is more pleasant than our own reality.

Even worse, American Christianity–which should challenge the plastic elastic culture, bolsters and supports it instead. Television preachers with lifted arms and lifted faces preach a fake gospel of prosperity and pleasure. Phony priests parade a happy clappy Coca Cola religion in which everyone will be saved if only we can “teach the world to sing in perfect harmony.” Hip hop pastors fill their mega churches with a Christianity that is more entertainment than discipleship while progressive pastors spout politically correct feel good messages promoting an artificial inclusion

and hot air filled “kindness.”

The fact of the matter is, truth hurts, and genuine love and authenticity is hard work. It requires listening, vulnerability, risk and danger.

True Christianity is authentic, but it is only so when the disciple hears the Master say, “You must take up your cross and follow me.”

From all that is elastic and plastic–Good Lord Deliver Us.