Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Western Christianity's Dirty Little Secret

"Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us."
-1 Peter 2:11-12

I have been thinking alot about what a Christ follower should look like in North American culture. Reading through the New Testament and looking into the historical background has convinced me that if you were a Christian in the first or second century AD, you stood out. You were different. People who watched you for a little bit couldn't help but notice that you lived and acted in a way that was both different and counter to the Hellenistic culture of the day. "In the world, but not of it" is a good way to sum it up.

Fast forward to today. I have seen many polls and research that show that Christians in the West (well, at least evangelical Christians) are almost identical to the non-believers they live around. We watch the same movies, we buy the same stuff, we divorce at about the same rate (or higher in some areas), we have about the same levels of premarital sex, we cheat on our taxes (and spouses) about the same, we listen to and read the same things, etc, etc. Except for going to church on Sunday's, it's hard to differentiate between a Christian and non-Christian.

Shouldn't we be different?

Shouldn't I be different? Shouldn't the fact that I'm a Christ-follower (or at least very different) be obvious to anyone who meets me?

Apple had a great ad campaign a few years ago: "Think different." I wonder if as Christian we are called to think and be different and yet . . . we aren't. In my heart, I'm unsatisfied with this. What would I change about my actions? I'm not sure. But I have this growing desire to not be an anonymous Christian. I want people to see God working in and through me. How can we shine if we don't even stand out?

May Light increase!

1 comment:

Dayna said...

this is really good, mark... i've had similar thoughts of late as i am beginning a completely new chapter of my life in a completely new country/culture/family/
church/etc...

can they (all of the above) see a difference in me? can I see a difference in me? can He see a difference in me?

and along the same lines. alyssa's recent post was a timely reminder as well w/ the verse 'always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give a reason for the hope that you have'

thanks for the reminder to 'think different'