Keeping Cool

Isn’t it cool to be cool? I cherish being thought of as cool, especially by those who aren’t following Christ.  I like it when people say, “Wow. You’re authentic.  You’re not what I thought Christians were supposed to be.”

Definitely!  I feel like I’ve done something good in such cases.  BUT, I’ve found I have to beware when someone is really saying, “You’re not like other Christians.”  Then I have a problem …. especially if I happily agree, because I need to be asking myself, what’s wrong with other Christians?

See, I’m finding this trap in modern culture in which it’s cool to follow Christ as long as we don’t look like His church.  It’s as though people believe that we can look like Jesus, but we shouldn’t look like His church.  Does it work that way?

It’s that dance of pleasing everyone …. of fitting into modern culture.  I say, sure, embrace culture … know it … care for it … don’t run from it.  BUT …

Not at the expense of distancing ourselves and tearing down our own family.

Do you know what I mean?

We’re completely immersed in the midst of sticky cultural shifts.  I love the sincerity with which I see many Christians approach unbelieving friends.  Yet I cringe as I hear and read more and more of the rhetoric that says, “Yeah, I believe in Jesus, but it’s okay, because I’m not too Churchy … not too holy … not too conservative … not old fashioned … not legalistic … not Bible thumping … yada … yada … yada.”

Great! Don’t be these things … but please … stop tearing down your own family.

Can you imagine being at a wedding where the Groom was within earshot of a group of guests who were evaluating the Bride:

“Pretty dress, but not sure it’s really the right fit for her …”

“What was she thinking when she chose that eye shadow … “

“Wow! That hair style is sooooo out of date …  ”

“She’s hot, but I sure wouldn’t have planned my wedding like this … ”

“Hope nobody who sees me here thinks I agree with her sense of fashion …”

Oh my! Can you imagine the reaction of the Groom who would hear such stuff about the one he’s about to commit his entire life to?  These guests would find themselves on the curb, rubbing sore butts and brushing mud off their faces.

THE CHURCH IS NOT PERFECT.  But it makes me a little nervous that so many imperfect people are making that call.  So they have all the answers? And what re-arranging of scripture has to take place in order to make such calls, essentially trying to make the Church look cool to a culture in rebellion?

I do a lot of reading … and I’m seeing much criticism in regards to the Church and her response to the poor … to the kind of music Christians listen to … to the marriage issues on the forefront of society … to those who struggle with mental illness …  etc.  It’s good and right that we evaluate ourselves, seek to do better, BUT when the criticism is coming from “family” and in venues meant for unbelievers?  Wow!  That’s just crazy.

I think what I’m trying to get at here, is that Christians sure are disloyal to each other sometimes.  Why are we so protective of a broken, lost culture and so judgmental towards sinners who have at least repented and are seeking to follow Christ?

My thoughts travel to a day on a school bus when I suddenly became cool.  I was a fifth grader joking with high schoolers who for some reason found me funny.  On a roll, I ventured to make a joke about the appearance of one 9th grader’s older brother.  I think I called him a shaggy dog. (It was rumored around town that he was going to some “hippy” college and experimenting with drugs.)

The girl was in my face! “You can make fun of me all you want, but lay off my brother! He’s my family, not yours.  You are way out of line!”

What if the Church had more of this love for one another?

This isn’t about casting a blind eye to true wrong doing in the Church.  It is a cautionary attempt to say, Family … let’s be careful.  Are we actually dialoguing with the people we disagree with?  I just can’t help but think if spent as much time listening to our church family as unbelievers, we might be surprised to find what is really in the hearts and behind the motives of these “stodgy”, “legalistic”, “out-of-touch” church people.

Our love has got to start at home.

“Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” John 13:35 (NLT)

Now that’s cool!

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