Last night, Stephen and I, and friends of ours, Adam and Amy, headed to Cedarville to hear the author of unChristian speak. Hold on, I’ve got to look up his name (I’m awful with names, have I ever mentioned that?!?)
Gabe Lyons, that’s his name. Anyways, he was there hosting kinda like a town hall meeting. He spoke for a while and then him, Dr. Brown, and a Bible major fielded questions. It was a really good couple of hours. Not exactly comfortable, but good.
I haven’t read the book, but will at this point, but I knew the premise. Basically, as an overview, Gabe went to the Barna Research Group and worked out surveying 16 to 29 year olds on their perception of Christians. The data they got back was so… I don’t know a better word, but I’m sure there is one… disturbing, that they decided to compile it into this book. (David Kinneman did the majority of the actual writing.)
I could probably post the entire lecture but I would don’t that because it would be really long, and besides, I think you need to read the book… but the main thread that went through the entire lecture was pretty simple. As Christians we can be the biggest stumbling block for others to see Christ. Why is this?
We, as a whole, there are many exceptions, but the majority of us have thrown off parts of the gospel and in return become unbalanced, not true representations of Christ. We have separated ourselves from our culture and have created a completely separate sub-Culture which has left the culture that surrounds us without salt or light… and to quote someone (I forget who)…
Any room gets darker when the light leaves the room…
… yet we’re puzzled by the increased corruption in our world. It shouldn’t be surprising.
Chuck Colson wrote a book, which I didn’t get the name of it but I really would like to figure it out because it sounds really good, anyways, in it he makes the point that Christians are called to redeem entire cultures, NOT just the individuals within these cultures.
So, how do we do this in THIS generation? Our evangelism approach has to change, and there are many, many leaders who are grasping this and are impact their community and culture. In the Chuck Colson book he talks about how we have started (at somepoint in the last 100 years) begun witnessing at the fall of man, “All have sinned.. Yet, that’s now where the story begins… the story begins with the fact that each individual is a creation of our God. Created uniquely. Created beautifully. Created with a purpose. And the thought is, if we start a conversation at the beginning it will end much differently than if we start in the middle…
It makes sense!
With my kids, I know that sometimes, especially with Madeline, we have to step back and find something to brag on her, even in the midst of pulling our hair out because if she’s constantly being confronted with the sin, she shuts down. I am NOT saying, and neither was Gabe, or any resources he shared last night, that we ignore the fall of man, and the sin that is present today… but simply start at the beginning. Why would I not think the same about those that are around me?
Gabe talked about William Wilburforce, one of the great Christian men who changed the world. Wilburforce had two pursuits in his life, the abolition of slavery and to right the manners of England (I think the last one is right, someone is more than welcome to correct me). But his point was, his life was focused on redeeming these two SOCIAL issues. And yet, through it he showed Christ to many in his time, and countless in the generations after. Anyone, whether they are religious or not, can see that slavery was wrong. And in turn, they can respect and acknowledge the part that Wilburforce played in overturning this in England. Wouldn’t at some point it cause people to ask, “Why would Wilburforce devote his life to this cause?” What would be his response? I think Christ would have been very visible by his actions, by his life’s pursuit, and then confirmed by his words.
I realize I just went on a major rant, and hopefully it made sense, but do you see why you should read the book?!? It’s good.
Last night left us evaluating how we can engage in our culture better. To be completely honest, my exposure to non-Christians is very limited. The last job I had I worked at a church. My husband’s a pastor. I was raised in a Christian home and our families are Christian. The most exposure that I can give Christ to an unlit world is at Maddie’s school. That’s not enough. I’m failing (that seems to be a theme of mine the last week!) at engaging my culture.
And let me say this… when I say that, I am SO not thinking that I need to be going door to door asking where people would go if they died tomorrow. I want to build relational equity in my culture so that people can see that something’s different. So that they can be exposed to Christ’s hands and feet… that is what we need to be trying to focus on. I am thoroughly convinced that if our church can become the hands and the feet and less of the mouth, we can start making some waves here in NL.
Dr. Brown mentioned the verse in Romans 2:4 that speaks to the fact that it’s the kindness of God that leads to repentance. Jesus attracted people in his culture… shouldn’t I be doing the same?!?