Friday, November 27, 2009
Christianity, a religion of seclusion?
Not to burst your bubble, but it seems to me that it needs to be popped.........Oh God, that my words would come out kindly.
I am in the middle of reading a book called Un-christian by David Kinnaman and Gabe Lyons. They work for the Barna group doing research and taking stats of different ideas or issues. This book is all about what outsiders think of Christianity, how/what to changes it to, and what biblically should be the perspective that people have of our ideas and actions. Each chapter deals with different issues that are viewed of modern day American Christians. He deals with six of the main complaints against christians; Hypocritical, anti-homosexual, too political, judgmental, and our topic for tonight Sheltered.
I was discussing with Dan the beard about how I was annoyed with how christianity in America had become more of a secluded subculture than a following of beliefs. Think about it! We become so secluded that we don't Understand or know the world that is around us.
sub·cul·ture: A cultural subgroup differentiated by status, ethnic background, residence, religion, or other factors that functionally unify the group and act collectively on each member.
se⋅clud⋅ed; 1. sheltered or screened from general activity, view, etc.: a secluded cottage., 2. withdrawn from or involving little human or social activity: a secluded life.
With this definition there is nothing wrong with christianity being considered a sub-culture, but when it becomes one that is secluded and sheltered it becomes a problem. We go from one sheltered Christian activity or dwelling to the next. The beginning of the week we start out with church, then monday off to our jobs (often staying seperated with the other Christians there), Monday night bible study, Wednesday night service, etc. You get the picture, its not hard to see what i'm talking about.
Much of the world doesn't know what we are/should be about because of the religious seclusion we have that keeps us separated from them all the time. When Christians are the ones doing something in the world then they can be the ones who influence its spiritual direction. "When Christians shelter themselves, letting "someone else" answer the world's doubts and address its problems, they abdicate their biblical role to be spiritual influencers." When we are closed off from the world we have no influence on it.
My biggest problem is when we come from a secluded lifestyle it is obvious to those we are trying to witness to. If they already don't like you because of your being sheltered, why would they want to listen to you? What makes you think that you can have any effect on what they think? People often wonder why I have such large holes in my ears (gauges). I have them because I find them to be something that is well defining of my style, I enjoy having them, and they open me up to a wider variety of people than the average slacks and tie christian. If a person can quickly stereotype and categorize you under a label that is narrow minded and bigoted they will not listen to what you have to say. Christianity is has secluded it self to the point where a stereotypical thought is not too far off from the norm. Is it only a belief of a certain type of people, or did Christ come to save all people he created of all race, personality and style?
The idea of in the world but not of it seems to come from John 17:13-19. How can live by this when we are neither being in the world or of it? The more I read the more i notice that Christ did not hang out with the religious groups of the time, but that of shunned sinners. He did not scorn or push away those who needed to know the love of God in order to be with those who already knew him. He chastised the priests for being too caught up in the religion and details, and yet we live maintaining a secluded religious lives concerned about details more than the big picture.
This may not have been the greatest rant ever, but I think it served its purpose.
Now the question is not what you have learned, but What are you going to do with it!