This is apparently unofficially Books For And By Christians Week at Farceland. I suppose anyone reading this blog has pretty much gathered where my head is at.
I grew up in Christianity. I made a profession of Faith at 4 years of age. (I was a precocious child and it was a well-informed and reasoned decision.) I was baptised at 10. I went to a Christian school for 11 of my 13 years of school and to a Christian University for a year and a half of my almost 3 years (off and on) of college. Sundays and Wednesdays were church days. 95% of my friends were Christians. I know whereof I speak when I talk about the insularity of the Christian experience in America.
Naturally I can only have first-hand knowledge of one life. I will never know first-hand what it is like to have a different kind of life, as much as I read about and enquire of others. This means that I’m perhaps prejudiced to my own life pattern and perhaps why I thought for years that my way of being a Christian was the better way. Now as I grow older and less doctrinaire I’m fully able to accept that there are different ways to carry out the will of God; as many different ways as there are people.
Yet I seem to frequently find myself defending my particular way, which I would sum up as this: Train yourself in the faith. Study and learn and grow and develop a relationship with God. Then when you’ve got that shelter built within yourself, do what Christians have been told to do from the very beginning by Jesus himself. “Go Ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature“.
I have interpreted that to mean that we are to, you know, go places. Foreign places. Unfamiliar places. Strange places. We are to leave our comfort zone and interact with ALL types of people.
That’s why I have issues with a pattern of Christian living whereby believers hermetically seal their worlds and try their level best to live every day inside a bubble of social “church”, sanitised fiction from CBA publishers and TV programs with all the cursing bleeped out by a special machine you can buy for that.
Don’t get me wrong; every Christian needs to check back in on a daily basis with the Word and to be in contact with God through a dialogue of prayer. Those are the things that make living in a foreign world bearable on the days it would otherwise not be. And the occasional Christian-themed fiction or TV show is a nice break, provided you enjoy that sort of entertainment.
But a life lived entirely in that context is a waste of resources. I’m even prepared to go so far as to say it is sinful in that it is a form of gluttony. It is gorging yourself on the sweetness of Christian things, leaving yourself weak and unprepared to do as the Saviour commanded.