Wednesday, November 7, 2007
Popping the Christian Bubble
When I lived in Tulsa, OK I experienced a sort of faux-Christian-eutopia that I did not experience while growing up in Detroit. Christian music playing in WalMart AND the grocery stores, bars not allowed to sell liquor 400 feet away from a church (long story on how I know this), mega churches every 10 miles, Christian concerts all the time. Tulsa is so Christian, its jokingly called Tulsarusalem by some. Others called it "the bubble." You could almost live a life full of Christian fellowship and NEVER have to engage people who were not of the faith.
Even more so, I encountered people who didn't really grow up in Tulsa, but they grew up in their own bubble. They had never been around people who smoked, drank or cussed. They had never had a conversation about sex or drugs and had no idea how to handle themselves without being COMPLETELY judgemental of people who have lived a lifestyle opposite of their own. Funny, fast foward a few years and those same people were some of the wildest people I met. I've either seen them or heard the stories from credible people about how wild they were. And these are people that if I named their parents, 90% of the church world and 75% of the non-church world would know their names. They never lived outside of the bubble, then they lost themselves when the bubble builders were no longer around.
Why do we choose to live in our Christian bubbles? Why do build our bubbles? Something that was wild to me was the parallel I noticed in our Christian bubbles and the Tower of Babel. Now on the surface, the Tower of Babel didn't seem so bad. They wanted to build something that could reach heaven and touch God. Not so bad, right? Well, The Tower of Babel was being built for 2 reasons: 1. As a testament to the people's greatness and 2. So that they wouldn't have to spread all over the world - Gen 11:4. The problems with attempting to accomplish this: 1. God wants stuff for HIS glory, not our own and 2. God said to fill the whole earth (Gen. 1:28).
Our Christian bubbles honestly look to do the same thing. We want to have the pride of having created something that doesn't seem that bad but doesn't really fulfill God's will. Our job is worded slightly different that what God originally planned but the premise is the same - go engage the whole earth. We can't do that in our bubbles because I bubbles let's no one AND definately lets noone who isn't just like us in.
There are things we can do to help burst our little bubbles and engage the world:
1. Don't just use the perspective of church in our communication
Too often we communicate from the perspective of our church to do what God has said. Want to make disciples? Be a small group leader. Want to serve God? Volunteer in the ushers team. Want to evangelize? Pass out church flyers (and that has to do with evangelism I will NEVER know. Sounds like marketing to me). Want to be generous? Give to the building fund. Are all of these SOME ways to live the biblical mandates? Sure. Are they the only ways? Heavens no! So let's start communicating in a way that allows us to execute the message not only inside, but also outside the church walls. This way, we see the connection between life and God and how it exists outside of Sunday morning and Wednesday night.
2. Engage people who are not like you
It might be a stretch, but make a friend out of someone who is not a believer. Notice I didn't say make them your evangelistic mission, I said make a friend. Not best friends (there are some scriptural and personal downsides to making a nonbeliever your closest friend), but make them a friend. Besides, our goal shouldn't be leading someone in "the sinner's prayer", but leading someone to being a disciple.
Let's break the bubble and engage the world, they're waiting...