Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Where do you belong?

This question cuts to the heart of the divided nature of the Western Church. The culture that some would like to believe "embraced" Christianity actually did much to strangle it. Faith became an elaborate call sign to distinguish friend from foe-- a set of ornate clothes to wear for an hour to broadcast to all who could see, "I am a citizen in good standing."

But our culture demonstrates the mutual incompatabilty of human creations with the Kingdom of God. While our culture created and the church blessed incredible instruments which discipline the human mind and channel human creativity in ways that have literally re-created the world in our own image, they do not discipline the human spirit, or point people in the direction of the God of Abraham, Moses, and David Who came to earth in Jesus Christ.

Culture is interested in using Christ to reach its own ends. We can mark time from His birth at year zero; we can mark our money "In God We Trust," but that does not mean that the money is more spiritual or that Christ rules our time. Christ wants us to follow Abram's lead, and "leave your home... for the land that I will show you." We can't take our culture with us.

Christians found what seemed to be a good compromise half-way through the first millenium after Christ: to belong to a culture which publicly declared that it belonged to Christ. But that belonging is at least one remove away from Biblical faith-- we are either strangers and aliens on this earth, or this earth is our home. We are either passionately in love with Jesus Christ Who has saved us, or we truly do not know Him. There are no apron strings to draw us into Christ's embrace. Our primary comfort and allegiance cannot be to the nest we have been born into if we were created to fly.

This dilemma is not new-- it is as old as the apostles, and it has never changed. Not even in 1950's suburban America.

Do you belong to Christ? Do you belong in heaven-- or do you belong in your house, in your city, in your church, in your family? All the other belongings fade away. Only Christ stands the test of time. And if Christ is your primary allegiance, pride, place, class, race no longer matter. This culture is waiting to encounter that Church.

1 comment:

  1. Your last couple of posts have given me a yearning to go back and read Niehbur (sp?) again. Christ against culture? Christ over culture? Makes me want to explore the options he spelled out.