(My biggest fear with this post is not strong disagreement but that it doesn’t even make sense. I plea for grace).
So yesterday’s post really got me riled up, so much so that it has to spill over into today, though I’m taking it in a very different direction. Repeat, I’m not simply rehashing yesterday’s subject matter.
Youth pastors spend a lot of time trying to convince their teenage listeners to take a stand for Jesus and to not be ashamed of their faith. The reason they have to preach these messages is because, well, Christianity isn’t cool to the average teenager and they’re ashamed of their affiliation with the faith.
Of course I’m not saying we need to make Christianity cool or hip, but I understand the shame. Christianity can seem very “old world” – it seems like we’re behind the times. It seems like we’re always the kid trying to chase after his school bus speeding toward the next stop without him.
It feels like we’re the late bloomers who pick up on things very last, just like the folks who put off buying a personal computer until 2004.
I’m being very vague I realize, but I think that Christians marginalize ourselves in this world – be it through rejection/mistrust of science, through black and white thinking or simple cut and dry explanations, through allegiance to cowboy politics (hope I don’t get in trouble for that one), or it’s unwillingness to consider other perspectives or even concede that others outside of themselves raise valid point. And this marginalizing puts us outside of and behind the society we try to transform.
I think our Christianity has difficulty distinguishing what’s just tradition, what’s cultural, and what’s foundational/immovable. I think Christians are afraid of change, fearing they’ll alter something that will destroy their Jenga, therefore crushing their salvation in the destruction.
The truth of our situation is that we live in a highly-intellectual society. Have you watched some of the movies coming out these days? We are a very forward thinking progressive society. Though of course you’ll always have shoot-em-up mindless one-brain-cell-needed action movies – the trend toward brainy psychological thrillers point to a very complex view of human life (ex: Inception or Shutter Island). We’re growing in leaps and bounds in our understanding of our planet, our brains, and the very universe we live in.
I think one noble work of the informal emergent church, dare I ever compliment them, is that they work to try to keep Christianity up with the rest of the world.
I’m not advocating that Christians simple evolve more high tech or progressive/alternative worship services, which is one way Christians have responded to the shift towards post-modernity (and beyond) – I’m simply saying that if Christianity wants to be considered a viable worldview then it needs to keep up with the times.
This is a slightly different style post for me, as its very non-specific. That’s because I’m not offering answers or possible solutions. I think it’s only natural that Christians will always struggle to know how to properly engage with the world in which they live. Partly because the world is constantly changing (and even more rapidly as of late), and partly because our ways of forgiveness and grace and servitude run against the grain and therefore keep us as aliens or strangers.
So, do you agree we seem to lag behind the rest of the world? Where do you see Christians marginalizing themselves? (I’ll start things off in the comments by leaving a specific example). How the heck do we move forward?