Tuesday, March 28, 2006

question -1

Can I ask a questions that’s been hovering around in my mind & on my heart lately?

To be honest, I don’t even know that I know how to pose the question correctly, but I’ll start by saying, Why do we as humans feel the need to be “cool”? Or to clarify my question – where does that fit in with what God has called us to do with our lives?

We are asked to be all things to all people. My question is what does that mean exactly? I think as Christians we can not be all things to all people. We have to be able to relate to everyone with the love that Christ has shown to us, but if we were to truly relate we would just be selling out to the desires and temptations that are all around us rather than showing the ways that walking with God has transformed us.

How do we convince ourselves that being “cool” is what God has intended for us?
Recently I was asked if I ever desired a life contrary to the structured life I have now. Whether there were ever times I wished I could just cut loose and do all of the things I’m not “supposed” to do, and where perceptions wouldn’t matter.

To be honest I think that our cultural values tell a lot about what we perceive to be right and wrong, but that despite the fact that – yes- at times it would be nice to think about not having to worry about perceptions – it would at the same time be dangerous. I believe that I’ve been called to serve something greater than myself – and that I’ve been called to live a life that is greater than my own. I now have to live with a sense of responsibility for my actions – lest they become a stumbling block to someone I come into contact with.

Is this a burden? Is this a weight? Yes, sometimes, but when I think of the responsibility I have as a follower of Christ, I am faced with a reality. The reality is that it is my joy to be obedient in following and not in creating that stumbling block for others. If I am going to be willing to go into places and build relationships with people who do not know Christ intimately, I feel like I need to be willing to stand in contrast to the ways of the world so that I am not a source of confusion.

Lately I’ve bee finding myself in discussions with friends about what they think about certain things like “smoking, drinking, and tattoos” for Christians. The answers come back in variety of formats – from a simple “no” to “yes, and I do those things on occasion” – when asked “why?” the answer comes back, “ Because I think it is just unbelievably cool.” I don’t think that’s a fair answer. I think millions of people drink because they want to be perceived as “cool”. How does that make you cool? It is an image that we have given that title to.

The tricky thing is – when people are wanting to start ministries in unconventional places to meet with non-Christians how do we come off as sincere when we are there not doing any of the “cool” things – and making them feel awkward because we are watching them do those things? At the same time I think that once a person takes a step toward Christian obedience certain things should be re-examined. Do any of those things in and of themselves make someone not a Christian? No, I don’t think so. I don’t think drinking a glass of alcohol is going to condemn someone, but at the same time – it is such a fine line that you are walking – and for what purpose would someone desire to follow Christ? If they were going to be able to live the same life they were living now and claiming Christ – wouldn’t that be seen as hypocritical? That is the fine line – between hypocrisy and “cool”.

I am praying my way through this as we have been really seeking ways to meet non-believers. This is not something I’m comfortable with yet. Please give me your insights or let me know if I’m making absolutely no sense at all. I think if we completely withdraw from these places we are running the risk of building up Christian walls and Christian clubs, but depending on how we act we are running the risk of either being seen as looking down on others or being hypocritical.

Insight from my friends would be appreciated.

In Him, Mandy