Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Some thoughts about where the line for Christians is

In the midst of commissioning the twelve as disciples Jesus says: "Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves." (Matt 10:16)  Partly because ministry is so much about change management, relationships and managing invisible* forces I find more then ever before in my life, career and faith the furtive, innocent line between snake and dove.  On the one hand I need to challenge people to see their stained sinfulness while encouraging the lightness of grace and on the other hand I have to manage and move events and people for a bigger strategic (Kingdom) picture.  This balance requires discretion, cunning and innocence.

Then intersecting with that Amy and I caught up with Amy's best friend who currently is a missionary in Yap with her husband and son. They've had to think about what part of their own culture to keep, what cultural patterns to observe and which things to reject.  While "being all things to all men" we also need to not be "ashamed of the gospel."  I sometimes read this blog, which critiques American Christianity.   Sometimes the author nails hypocrisy and bandwagoning but at other times reveals her own progressive presuppositions.  We can't avoid being cultural, but we can also be reflective and considered.  

I'm thinking our loud here, but I think the solution is (somewhat unsurprisingly) post-apocalyptic.   As Christians we live between d-day and v-day, after the cataclysm (Golgotha) but before the fall of the city and the triumphal victory procession of the King.  Cain's ruined city is surrounded and as Christians we live in the bombed-out suburbs, stealing back and forth across the battle-lines, trying to make sense of the final victory and engaged in the vicious house to house, cultural-spiritual battles of a dying kingdom. (Dad killed a snake once and it's head lived for two days afterwards.)  

I think being godly and strategic are important.  There's nothing wrong with Keith Green, inerrancy and BBQs but bad design can be discouraging and loud music hurts my ears.