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prov·o·ca·tion - something that provokes, arouses, or stimulates. pant - to long eagerly; yearn. a collection of thoughts intended to provoke and inspire. these posts are hoping to encourage people to think, especially Christians, and pant even harder for the waterbrooks of the Lord. If you are not a believer in Christ Jesus, I welcome your perspective and encourage your investigation on these matters.

Thursday, March 31, 2005

Unreasonable Fundamentalists and the World Out Yonder

I am concerned that the majority of the world is being written off by many Christians. I have, for the past six months or so, had the privilege of getting to know much of this world who I have ignored for the past four years. It appears to me that evangelical Christians have settled into their ghettos and dug their stakes, set up their billboards, and developed their television programs all the while forgetting to go across the tracks. This mentality has been promoted through what I call "unreasonable fundamentalists" for at least the past 100 years. After the civil war, modernism arose and the philosophies of Kant, Hegel, Marx, and Nietzsche came on the scene along with Darwin in science and Freud in psychology. This assault on the foundations of the Christian faith caused conservative Christians to retreat from the secular universities where they would teach and study alongside these other disciplines. But out of fear of being poisoned and overcome with these ideas, they withdrew and retreated into their own schools and universities and no longer held any discourse with the rest of the world and the rest of the discplines of study. This process eventually trickled down to the churches and created a huge Christian sub-culture. This subculture is our security blanket and safety net - with Christian radio, Christian television, Christian bookstores, Christian concerts, Christian cruises, and on and on down to Christian testaments and cartoons. We who have the truth and should have boldly confronted the ideologies of the world and shown Christ to be Logos and One True God, yet we have shown ourselves to be unreasonable and incompetent to hold any discourse with the world. As a result, Christians are considered as hay-seed idiots who are blind followers and bumbling dogmatists. We have prefabricated our gospel to a few verses and spiritual laws and left evangelism to something like an altar call. We expect them to come to us and have worship services catered to the lost (while I may add that lost people are not found in the Bible going to church . . .we are to go to them!). So we reach out only to those who are most inclined to religion - the gullible, the hurting, the religiously inclined. We are only as agressive as one night's visitation for a few hours and considering that we have done a find job if the numbers deem it so. Yet the point is this: Chrisitians are not called to "visitation" but rather "cohabitation". The world doesn't need to hear another cheesy presentation; they need an authentic demonstration of Christianity. And they won't see that as long as we are in our ghettos complementing ourselves of the work of our hands, the buildings we have built, and the programs that we busy ourselves with. There is a big world out there, and it is right across the street. Christianity will continue to be marginalized and deemed irrelevent as long as we continue to do what we do. We have become so concerned that we should not be "of" the world that we are no longer "in" the world. Rather, I would dare say that Christians have become "of" the world and not "in" the world, becoming tail-waggers to the culture and panting after worn out fads of our day. Dialog with the rest of the world needs to resume. 150 years of retreat is long enough. Programs and billboards are not justification. The world needs Christians; Christians who are not propped up by the sub-culture and ghetto mentality. Maybe this retreat mentality is why so many churches are going goo-goo over numbers; we want them on our side of the fence. Why can't it be the other way around? Are we supposed to be going to them? No, cohabitation means that we will have to be exposed and accountable, our lingo be deprogrammed, our crutches removed, and our unreasonableness for the world to see. We dare not do that. We will just reach the people who are at arm's length, the people who are like "us", and well for the rest of the world, a hearty "God bless you." Those others just think too much, have too many questions, are "unsavable" and irksome to us because our programming doesn't fit them. So see ya. And when you get a chance, read this tract and come to our church and sing our songs, and oh as a result of your "visit" here is a Christian testament and candy bar for having come to be a part of "us".

9 Comments:

Anonymous Jimmy said...

Ouch. I agree that this is a massive problem. But in all honesty, I'm not sure how to go about fixing it... how to get myself out of the faith ghetto, exactly. What do you do when you feel like the church's purpose has been corrupted, but you are commanded not to forsake the church? What do you do when your heart aches for the church but the majority are so blind as not to see any problem? I feel like I'm locked into mediocrity in the church gathering. I see the church pathetically trailing everything the world does, while crying that we must stay out of it... I see the church bent on feeding itself and thinking that genuine ministry to Christ's poor and the lost means two hours of allotted, scheduled time to drop off information packets... I see the world mocking our division... and I've been raised in this stuff, immersed in it. I can talk about it all day, but WHAT CAN I DO?

3/31/2005 03:00:00 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

jimmy are you talking about the church you go to??

4/07/2005 11:48:00 AM

 
Anonymous drew said...

I see this many days in my life, people who claim to be living the christian life but pass it all up for a laugh at the workplace. Or boast about the great time they had at the club last night. But oh by the way I kept children's church this past week so I'm still a good person, i'm a sunday school teacher man I'm so busy in the church. Or others say well you know I'm not of the world cuz I don't drink or smoke but I love to cut up and watch the fine ladies walk around town. Where is the difference.

I pray that I live my every day for the sake of Christ not for my spiritual checklist of things to do but to live apart from these lives and to proclaim Christ through my life. To not let mediocrity take over but to never be satisfied in who I am. Jimmy's right I don't know what to do to change this. I know that the only way to get a fix on this is to trust God with His church and pray pray pray.

The hard thing is seeing my friends live this way. To claim Christ as their all at church but to go home and work and school and let it all go with a quick laugh from coworkers or "friends." To give them another example of christian hypocrisy to see them at break praying over their meal and then laugh at a dirty joke or watch the women walk out the door. It breaks my heart but what do I do? I pray for them, I talk to them. I try to confront them. But it's like I never say a thing, I just get a nod and oh I didn't know I wasn't supposed to do that or not even a response. And watch them aimlessly "trailing everything the world does." All I know to do is pray. To trust God and pray that my friends and coworkers will see the light in me. That my life can be an example to those around me. Look at me! I pray when people see me they see Christ, a desire to be good and pure from the things of this world. To not laugh at the dirty and sarcastic jokes. To not accept hypocritical lifestyles, and what people do to "feel good." And To not be happy with my coworkers always accepting me, but to challenge them in the ways they think and the lives they live. To be the salt to everyone around me, with love. But for me to still love people with the love of Christ. Oh I pray this for my life. To never look back at my old ways but looking ahead to Christ, bringing as many as I can with me.

drew

4/07/2005 02:52:00 PM

 
Anonymous jimmy said...

Someone's very interested in my opinion of my church.

No, it's not just about my church. It's about most churches I've visited and been a member of (and those are numerous)... it's about THE Church, the body, the redeemed. We all act this way. Even I am guilty.

4/07/2005 09:50:00 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

no i have just read some of your other comments on your church and was just wondering if this was towards your church too.

4/08/2005 12:02:00 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You know, it is easy for us to sit back and condemn "the church" but doesn't it start with ME? You know, I agree that we are in need of a major movement of God, but isn't it our choice to continually seek for food in the midst of the drought? Can we not just pray for spiritual rain? We have not because we ask not. I really hope that there aren't a lot of unbelievers who are lead to this site. I really wouldn't want an unbeliever to get the impression that we have no excitement about living the abundant life. YES -- we do have faults, and NO -- we are not perfect. But by the grace of God, and by the free will He has given me, I am saved into a wonderful, supportive body of believers, and I resent the remark that ALL Christians are blind to the problems of the church. However, may we NEVER forget the eternal rewards and blessing of obedience to the Word of God and love for Him.

4/12/2005 11:00:00 PM

 
Blogger Timmy said...

To the anonymous blogger, first I ask that would identify yourself by leaving your name at the end of your comment. Second, if your comment is addressed to me, I would like to simply say that the Bride's wedding dress is torn and needs mending. No one is saying that ALL Christians are blind and so on. There are legitimate concerns to be shared, and those who voice their concerns, however passionate or passe they may be, deserve to be heard and not thought of as enjoying the abundant life. The adundant life does not with the absence of the mind and conscience held captive to the Word of God. I think it is fair to say that none of us have a complete or full understanding, but we can glean insight and understanding from each other. I appreciate your interest and comments though I disagree with you and want you to know that nonbelievers are watching and reading and listening - much more everday than simply on this blog. I have had the privilege of working with hundreds of them at my workplace (UPS), and discuss these matters with them all the time. Honestly, hearing with fresh ears what non-Christians are saying about Christians has really challenged me. Christianity is more than simply about "excitement." I get excited over a new pack of lemon heads, but that does not make me any more devoted to lemon heads or committed to them than a non-lemon head eater. I am sorry that you resent the comments made, and I hope that dialogue can continue. Though we may disagree on doctrine or cultural or church perspective, I say again that I appreciate your comments and hope that you would give consideration to mine and others as well. For the sake of the truth and the name of Jesus Christ, may we strive for integrity and authenticity in word and deed.

4/13/2005 11:01:00 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i agree with both---but this goes back to what i said in another comment--THERE HAS TO BE A BALANCE. unbelievers need to see that yes, we do have faults and we are not perfect, but they also need to see that the christian life is full of joy and abundant life here on earth. ep

4/14/2005 03:46:00 PM

 
Blogger Timmy said...

I feel like I am responding to the same thing over and over again. Maybe I need to make a new post. Nothing else needs to be said. Balance? Definitely. Abundant life? Absolutely. Honesty? Not likely.

4/15/2005 06:50:00 AM

 

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