What’s happened to us? What have we done to ourselves? Why have we limited and closed the doors of opportunity for those who have a passion for the brokenhearted of this world? Let me explain. We have Christian music, Christian movies, Christian television, Christian books, Christian coffee shops, Christian t-shirts, Christian bumper stickers, Christian this and Christian that. So, what does it really mean to be Christian? Does this mean if I go to McDonald’s it makes me a happy meal?
Why do we brag about being Christians? Is it for our own edification? Or is it to show that we are segregating ourselves from those who are considered to be “evil.” I know there is a lot of entertainment and arts (music, movies, art, etc.) that can be vulgar and disheartening. I know that “Christians” like to shelter themselves in a cocoon of religious walls that keep bad people out with their bad ideas and bad actions. Why do we do that? I’ll admit I’m protective of my kids, but not to the point that they live in a plastic bubble and only breathe fresh Christian air. Not all of their friends are followers of Christ, and not everything they watch on television is drowned in Scripture. But they know what I will and will not allow in their lives…they also know why. Yet, they understand that we cannot reject, or marginalize people just because they don’t believe and think like us.
Why do we marginalize others who really need hope and faith? Why do we marginalize ourselves? For instance, I remember when Amy Grant “crossed over” to mainstream music. The reaction of the religious community was one of outrage and ungodly criticism. I was appalled at the reaction because she had been afforded a great avenue for touching people’s live that otherwise would not have happened in Christian circles. Then there was Stryper. These guys not only wanted to play music for God, but they were seriously concerned about their musicianship. They knew the only way they would be taken seriously would be by playing with a quality that could compare with the popular “secular” bands. I saw them a couple times and musically they were flawless. They never preached, but they never shied away from telling people why they were different. From what I’ve read they have impacted the music community behind the scenes in a way that many of us could not.
My issue is this: When the believers and followers of Jesus were called “Christians” they were being ridiculed for following Jesus the Christ. They were being called “little Christ’s.” I consider it a compliment myself, but I also see that we can’t really call ourselves “Christians.” Who of us can really proclaim that we are a “little Christ” or “Christ-like” in our life? The Apostle Paul considered himself the Chief of Sinners. I think he was one of the godliest and coolest dudes to try and live like Jesus. Yet, he knew the magnitude of following the Savior of the world. He was imprisoned and beat, but somehow counted it all joy. Wrap your head around that…
My rant: Music, movies, TV, books, entertainment, etc. Neither of those can “be” Christian. The people involved might be followers of Jesus the Christ, but that doesn’t mean we should be exclusively inclusive. I have great heartache over the Christian and secular divide that the established religious institution has created. I listen to various “secular” radio stations throughout the day because I now that most of the people on my daily path don’t live a sheltered religious life. The people we are connecting with through the echo project are listening to all kinds of music. They are watching many of the creative shows on television and theaters. They are expressing themselves through their blogs. Some express themselves through their music on Acoustic Night. They may not be too concerned with darkening the doors of our church buildings. However, they are craving community, meaningful relationships and a life of purpose. Are we willing to darken the doors of their lives for the cause of Christ? Or will we live like Pharisees and keep what we have for ourselves?
Are we so naive that we would believe everything expressed on the tube, or radio is true? Let me be blunt. Are we stupid? I’ll admit I’ve been stupid at times about all the issues addressed in this series of posts. We, Christians, are supposed to be the picture of hope for a hurting world, but instead we do what everyone else does. We argue of the petty issues. We politicize morality and religion. We hope that the government will be the hand of God by stopping abortions and other immoral issues through legislation. Why in the world would we believe anyone but God could change hearts and minds?
Yes, we should be concerned about the well being of the people displaced by Katrina. We should be concerned with war and terrorism, but in the same breath we must seek and offer a peace that transcends all understanding. We must consider the cost of being called a Christian. We have to be worthy of being called a Christian and I don’t see that in my own life. Yet, we can’t live in fear. We can’t live selfishly. We should not reject the brokenhearted.
Insight from the Apostle Paul: “When I am with those who are weak, I share their weakness, for I want to bring the weak to Christ. Yes, I try to find common ground with everyone, doing everything I can to save some.” 1 Cor 9:22 (NLT)