Some of us Christians do our best to separate ourselves from the world as much as possible — much like the Essenes of Jesus’ day.
We immerse ourselves in nothing but Christianese culture, listening to nothing but the FISH (safe for the whole family!!); watch nothing but purposefully Christianized programming (yay American Bible Challenge; a bigger YAY for Kirk Cameron!)
We view the world to be so contaminated that we try our best to stay far, far from it.
In a previous post, I mentioned that a part of me admires the resolves of those people to really stick to their guns on what they believe to be a good and faithful Christian life. They’re making sacrifices and diligently trying to live a life that they feel is a good Christian one. They’re anchored by their beliefs, rather than floating and drifting about.
But, the bigger part of me has to question, really, how “biblical” is that approach of life?
Not being part of this world has become (very) profitable. NOTW (Not Of This World) apparel and swag has become one of the bigger sellers of Christianese paraphernalia. I see bumper stickers of NOTW on many cars; people wearing shirts with the NOTW logo.
Although, NOTW makes me think of aliens. Or Superman. But not really Jesus nor Christians. But that’s just me and my love for sci-fi and comics.
We do our best to completely separate ourselves from the world.
But, let’s not forget the favorite verse (or the most well known verse) for many, many Christians: John 3:16 which begins with For God so loved the world… (emphasis mine)
If God thought of the world as contaminated and dark as we did, would God really send his son?
If God wanted to be separated from the world as much as we do, would God find it necessary to send Jesus?
I mean, if the world is as dark and as contaminated as we believe (and it is), then what good are we doing for the world God created by pulling ourselves completely away from it?
Was it God’s purpose to send his beloved son to the world that he so loved and have Jesus die on the cross for us so that we may, in turn, respond by completely withdrawing from the world God intended to save and redeem and restore?
How can we be the light of this dark world if we hide ourselves under a bushel?
How can we be the salt to this world if we’re refusing to be spread upon the world?
Yes, Jesus said, “What good is salt if it loses its taste?”
But, also, what good is salt if it’s kept in its shaker away on the kitchen shelf never to interact with food (world)?
If the world is that bad and dark and evil — what are we doing to make it a better place?
If the world is that bad and dark and evil — then why are we taking away the hope and redeeming power of God away from it?
Why are we trying to bottle up all of God’s goodness and keep it to ourselves, away from the world?
I’m not saying or advocating that we become “worldly” and embrace all that is “unholy.”
But, saying and advocating that, instead of withdrawing, we let people know of the life-giving love and grace and hope of Christ. The same love, grace, and hope changed our lives for the better. And continues to change our lives.
And, what good is the Gospel and our message if we just keep trying to save the already saved, because all we hang out with are the saved?
Yes. The world is broken. But, what we can’t do is withdraw ourselves from it and point our fingers on just how screwed up the world is.
I mean, c’mon. Really.
What Would Jesus Do?
6 thoughts on “Don’t Blame the World”
I have been thinking about this for the last several weeks – because we have decided to send our Eden (now 5) to a private Christian kindergarten. It was a hard decision, because of several of the things you listed above. And while we feel like it is important for us to be a witness of faithfulness – we ultimately felt like Eden’s gifts and educational needs would be better met at the private school.
However, we are still praying about ways we can be in our community and not of it…
I don’t know why I only mentioned the schools — because protecting our kids is very important.
And I completely understand the wanting to not have your kids in public schools. At the same time, we have to be realistic in that, just because it’s a private school (even a Christian one) it’s not going to be without their faults — like bullying.
However — I think it’s a bigger problem when we try to completely withdraw from the world in all aspects of our lives.
You know, like not engage with people because we learn that they like to dance. or drink. or smoke.
Or not associating ourselves with non-Christians– and doing everything we possibly can to not associate ourselves with non-Christians and non-Christian aspect of our world…
I didn’t mean to sound like registering your child in a Christian school is un-Christian. For that, I apologize.
Besides, you and Chris wouldn’t allow yourselves to live an isolated Christian world, especially when our call is to serve the people in the world — not just in our churches.
As far as homeschooling goes, there are almost as many reasons for homeschooling as there are homeschool families. Please don’t stereotype all of us.
Yea. I apologize for that. Again, I don’t know why of all the aspects that I could’ve said, I focused on schools.
I removed it from the post so that I can save some face… 🙂
😀 The problem is that there are *some* homeschool families whose rationale is precisely to protect their children from the world.
This is honestly a delicate balance to take. Being “in the world but not of the world” is hard business. Especially in wanting to keep our children away from dangerous influences (where we live, drugs are rampant, and at least one of my children is a potentially higher risk to addiction because she was born addicted to heroin and prescription pain killers).
My personal testimony (ack, I used the “t word”) was that in college I got messed up in alcohol for the first two years. When I came back to the Lord, I needed to get away from that scene to protect me from falling right back in. So I scheduled work on every party night for a year (I lived in a fraternity house). That worked. In my last year, then, I was able to hang out at the house and not be tempted and be a good influence, a light in darkness.
thanks for sharing. Facebook has ruined my life, as I spent a good minute trying to find the “like” button to your comment.