Friday, April 4, 2008

Not Of This World

Christians are called to be aliens/foreigners to this world. We're called to be citizens of another kingdom, God's Kingdom.

How much of us, culturally speaking, is supposed to be different? Media, books, music, TV, movies, etc.? How much of our enjoyment of these is supposed to be different from the type of enjoyment non-Christians get? What should we view as entertainment along with non-Christians? What should we be shocked and sadden by while non-Christians find it entertaining?

"God did not send his Son into the world to condemn it,
but to save it." -John 3:17

Can't defining these things without caution lead to legalism, and going too far? We shouldn't be Amish, separating ourselves from society in order to create our own culture, then we never reach anyone. We shouldn't be indistinguishable from the rest of society either. Something should stand out about us. Something should proclaim we are citizens of a different kingdom!

I very much believe it's important to know what Christ expect of us in relationship to the world.

This is a debate that is kicking up a lot of dirt in Christian circles. Churches are being called liberal because they have made use of technology and their music has a sound similar to what you would hear on the radio.

I find that extremely interesting because while many are standing on a side that says "we must look nothing like the world in any shape, form, or way" yet I can't help but look at how Jesus talked, who He associated with, and how He interacted with others and think they have really missed the meaning of what Christ meant when He commanded us to not desire the things of the world.

Jesus talked to the people in their language. (Well, most of the time. He did speak in parables and I believe He did so to sort out who thought He was a cool speaker verses those who were deeply hungry for the things of God.) He talked about things that were familiar to them and their culture. He used examples of people everyone hated (prostitutes, Samaritans, etc.), people that were leaders (Sadducees and Pharisees), the language of working people that probably everyone of the time understood.

Jesus was a guy who did what was culturally wrong among the "GOOD" people.

You know. . .

I don't think the answer to this puzzle lies in what music can we listen to or not listen to. Or what movies we should condone or not. Or anything else that is cultural.

The answer is changing our view of Christianity into something that is less about what we're against and more about what we're for. At that point we will begin to understand how God desires for us to interact with culture. We need to remember that Christ came to save the world, not condemn it. And we need to carry the same attitude.


Melissa said...

Wow, you're right, I DID like this post. I once heard in a sermon a Pastor ask, "If a stranger that knew absolutely nothing about you came to your house, would there be any evidence that you're a Christian? What about the books on your shelves? Movies? TV programs?" Don't you think Romans 12:1-2 sums it up quite nicely? Jesus was with sinners but he did not conform to them. You couldn't have said it better -- it's what about we DO stand for, not what about we stand against. Don't you think Satan enjoys luring us to focus on what we're against? Picketing abortion clinics, gay-rights, secular music, certain rated movies . . . .I'm not saying I'm FOR those things but if I spend all my time shouting to the world what Christians "can't do", how will they know the joy and love of what they "can do".

P.S. I'm a quotes abuser --it's obvious from this and my last post. Thanks for your thoughts, I really appreciate them.

The Burgess Family said...

this is very unrelated to your current post but....i don't want to bother nate and tricia with this but if you or any of the other out of town family members would like the new paper articles from when they are in the N&O, please let me know. we get it and i would be happy to pass it on instead of putting it all in the recycle. i have kept two copies of the Easter Sunday paper (just in case) and will keep any of the other ones they are in... if any of you want them, please let me know and i will be more than happy to mail them to you.

The Beaver Bunch said...

I agree too. Jesus associated with what most people considered the scum of the earth, yet He maintained His holiness b/c of who He was. Thru the power of the Holy Spirit, we are to go into areas where people are making bad choices, living lives unrepresentative of Christ, and minister to them on THEIR LEVEL. Why should anyone allow us access to their hearts, to plant seeds for Christ, if we don't associate with them and step into their world?

Christians who are walking consistently with the Lord will see the calling God has laid out for them. It will be affirmed through the Holy Spirit, Scripture and in prayer. Then, we must move to these places, sometimes witness the unspeakable, and allow people access to our hearts so that they can see a Living Lord and the love He has for them. We can't do this standing on the sidelines, yelling in plays and hoping they understand. It's all about maintaining your faith. You can be in the game, and even get muddy, but you don't have to play "dirty" to win.