I came across a fascinating article in the Boston Globe entitled “The New American Dream” written by Neal Gabler. He talks about the American Dream and how it's changed over the last fifty years. The dream is no longer about seizing opportunity but about realizing perfection.
Therefore, the career has to be perfect, the spouse has to be perfect, the children have to be perfect, the home has to be perfect, the social circle has to be perfect. And we will seemingly do whatever it takes to attain this perfection, from plastic surgery to gated communities of McMansions to the professionalization of our children’s activities like soccer and baseball to pricey preschools that prepare 4-year olds for Harvard.
Gabler concludes the new American Dream is no longer opportunity to get an education and strive to reach your full potential through persistence, dedication and hard work but has morphed into perfection where we think it is birthright to be rich, beautiful, brilliant, powerful and to live not just the good life but the perfect one.
If you would eaves drop on our cultures thinking, you would sense a shift of the American Dream into the Great American Right: “I am entitled to the perfect car, house, spouse, job, fill in the blank.” So we do not expect a chance at a job but the guarantee of one.
If there is a theme to our day, it’s that it is all about me. The names say it all: YouTube, MySpace, iPod, iTunes, iPhone and so on.
It can be very easy for all of us to carry this same “entitlement attitude” into the church. I am entitled to my musical style (and it better be perfect), my seat, my parking space, my style of preaching, and my ministry.
Paul said we need the attitude of Jesus who gave up his divine privileges, humbled himself to the point of death...all for the sake of others. (Phil 2) Let’s help each other take on the attitude of Jesus and live our lives contrary to the cultures attitude. Remember, it’s not about me. It’s not about you. It’s about others, especially those who don’t know Jesus personally.