It's strange how society seems to cycle through different moods. We get caught up with social fads that come and go with regular monotony. In the 50s the gaudy fins of our cars heralded the unquenchable god of progress and affluence. In the 60s a little touch of unease seemed to prompt a swell of group sensitivity - group life laboratories, sensitivity training and the deepening of human relationships. In the 70s social theory seemed to dominate the stage. Social movements swept before us challenging the established order, threatening our long held beliefs. The children of the 70s still articulate their dreams for a radical society, although in fact, they seem like visitors from another planet. Then in the 80s we moved toward the minimum self. The "me" generation. We withdrew from the growing horror invading our lounge rooms night after night. In the 90's we were into self awareness and now into the new millennium, we add to the inner self the fruits of good times. Anthropology is the science of our age. Discovering ourselves is the fad of our times.
The Christian Church is, of course, affected by the social trends of the time. What's actually happening now is that those churches that accentuate personal inner experience, are better able to market their wares than a "success" church, a "community" church or a "socially aware" church.
When we have opened ourselves up as if a sardine can, what do we find within? We know what lies on the surface. We have a bag full of masks appropriate to the occasion. There is our work mask, our home mask, our socializing mask and our goody-goodies mask. Our front is of a strong, self assured, moral, likable individual. Well, that's the way we want to be seen. What lies behind the mask is not necessarily as pleasant. A fearful individual, unsure and imperfect, usually lies shivering behind the huff and the puff. In fact, we're not even aware of much of the funny stuff floating about. The trouble is, sometimes others are aware of it.
It's a good thing to dig around, "to know thyself". It's a good thing to accept ourselves, yes even like ourselves - warts and all. Yet, the deeper we dig the less we find, unless we find God. You see, without the indwelling presence of Jesus in our lives we are nothing. From dust we come and to dust we go.
As the Bible puts it, "The Lord searches the heart and understands every motive behind the thoughts. If you seek him he will be found by you; but if you forsake him he will reject you forever".