Monday, August 25, 2008

What does it mean to be different?

After my last post I had many comments and opinions. They run the spectrum of agreement and disagreement. I am sure this is a much more important topic to us in the American church than anywhere else.
Let me preface anything I say from here on by saying because of my current position I am refraining from alcohol.
Alcohol is just a small tip of the ice berg of the relationship Christians have with the cultural and those around us who are not of the same belief as us.
Last night I spent time with my neighbors and one of the neighbors hasn’t spent to much time around me much. He goes to church but I have no idea what his commitment is to his faith. As the other neighbors were drinking and shooting the breeze, this new neighbor was different than the rest. He still drank, smoked, and cussed but every once a while he would throw a religious phrase into the conversation. He was trying to impress me in some way but it was very disingenuous and strange. I was trying to figure out why he found the need to act this way? Is this what we have taught in church? Have we really never reached into the core of the problems but rather just tried to give people ways of covering up deeper problems by giving them clever phrases?
Is smoking, drinking, or cussing any of my neighbors biggest problems? Absolutely not, every single one of them have kids, wives, and families they worry about. Last night we talked at length about how we “deal” with wives. How we are embarrassed if our kids act up at restraints or get in trouble at school.
I think our biggest problems as Christians we can never get to core issues with non-Christians because we can never get over small surface issues. We can never get to the core problems of sexuality because we are so hung up in the acts of it. Last week I ran into one of my former youth group members and she introduced me to her girlfriend.
Immediately the people I was with started snickering and criticizing as soon as she left. My heart hurt for this girl, no I don’t agree with her life choices, but what is really going on in her life? Is the biggest issue that she chooses to be with a girl rather than a boy? Probably not, her biggest issue maybe the hurt that led her to this decision. Homosexuality in my mind is a surface issue rather than the root problem.
If I want to be different I am going to work hard at having the fruit of the spirit evident in my life and try patiently with dealing with others. Anybody can criticize, complain, boycott, or picket. It is a whole lot harder if we decide to get involved and be the light.Remember alcohol, smoking or whatever is just a coping mechanism to deal with the stress of the world. Biting my fingernails is one coping mechanism and it might not be looked down on as much but it still isn’t extremely healthy.

No comments: