Being a Christian means participating in the life of the eternal Godhead. But this participation is in the midst of a world that is constantly changing; people change, families change, cultures change. As Christians, then, we must learn how to see the eternal and changeless faith that Jesus Christ bestows in the context of a shifting world its fluxuating philosophies.
Today we definitely see a recycling of the 60’s, but there are some differences. I work with the research branch of the Forest Service right now, with environmentalists, biologist, ecologists, etc… And probably 1/3 of the people I work with are practicing Buddhists. Young, caucasian, American adults in their 20’s and 30’s embracing the Buddhist religion. Just seems a little odd. [Of course, after saying this, every culturally-adapted bit in me wants to say, “I’m not judging it, just noting it”]
They also embrace the “next adventure” philosophy, which is always looking for the next thing they can do. Rock climbing, dirt biking, fishing, extreme sports, this is all part of the purpose of life for my generation. Why settle, get married, and have a family when there is an adventure to be had? And really, why get married at all? Let’s be new and different, live together and maybe/maybe not have kids at some point when it is convenient for us (i.e. doesn’t compromise our adventures) – that sounds like the life! I confess that I’m very definitely part of this mentality, and just now standing back to look and squint at it, wondering how the Gospel and Christianity is being compromised by this mode of thought.
Jump around with me for a moment. Tolerance is the answer to everything today. And there is definitely the sens in which Christians are not to condemn non-Christians by our own standards. We should not expect pagans to act like anything other than pagans. Of course my co-workers live with their girlfriends, of course they’re homosexual, of course they swear like sailors. Their sin nature has not been redeemed in the blood of Jesus Christ, and is therefore given free reign. They have not the strength of Christ to resist temptation, nor the reason to do so.
At the same time, perhaps more shocking than the expected paganism of our non-Christian acquaintances, is the unexpected moralism that many non-Christians embrace. I know I was shocked in college and again this year that many of my non-Christian friends seemed to be gentler, kinder, more generous, and generally more enjoyable to be around than my Christian friends. Or even myself. What do we do with these non-Christian friends that seemingly have everything put together? And it is a dilemma! I have not come to many conclusions, but just some thoughts on the topic (as per usual these days…). First, be convicted! I have found myself most convicted this summer by a homosexual friend that is kind, gentle, courteous, caring, and loving – all those things I should be and more. Secondly, give thanks to God that He has been gracious enough to bestow the imago Dei so undeniably in mankind, that moralism is possible. And thirdly, realize that Christianity is not about moralism; it is about a just God who seeks the souls, not just morals, of mankind.
Right? Talk to me friends (my randomness has given full excuse for any random thoughts you may have as well!)