There’s a very excellent discussion going on over at Elspeth’s place in regards to the Christian Bubble. http://lovingintheruins.wordpress.com/2013/09/23/meanwhile-here-outside-the-christian-bubble
There’s a dichotomy: On one hand, we have folks who haven’t ever lived off the island. Their lives are “perfect”, their families are “perfect”. When they see someone who doesn’t have as externally perfect a life as they have had, they just don’t get it. They might have plenty of Christian kindness and compassion, but they don’t relate. I’m pretty sure that was what E was talking about.
On the other hand, we have churches set up to deal with folks who have had no Christian education whatsoever, and who are relating to God very emotionally. You start to get a reverse Bubble mentality, where if you haven’t been saved from your life of drug addiction and homelessness, you don’t know what it’s really like to be a Christian.
Ahem. Do you see anything in common here? “This is what it means to be *really* Christian”. Um. No. What it means to be really Christian is that you have a transformative personal relationship with Jesus Christ, and you place your faith in Him, utterly. That’s it. We’re not supposed to be exclusive. Once you’re in the family, you’re in. Done. He came for the sinners, not for the righteous. But – there aren’t any righteous. We’re all sinners. And we’re all *different*. Hands, feet, hearts, brains, eyes, ears, bellybuttons. We’re *different*, and we have different talents, different purposes.
We’re humans, and our churches are where we congregate for community, to get together not just with those in the family of faith, but with those who are like us. One sees the benefit to the parish mentality… but we don’t use the parish mentality as modern Protestants, so … onward. The tendency to make our friends like ourselves and to then define “real folks” as the folks that we hang out with is entirely natural. Notice I said, “natural” – not good.
The other thing that isn’t good is setting different fences around where you “should be” as a Christian. You know – I’ve been saved since I was four. If I don’t know more about the Bible than someone who got saved last week, I should hang my head in shame. (There are churches where people stay all their lives and never crack open their Bibles. That’s shameful, and no sugarcoating it). There are things that someone who has been addicted to heroin and come to Christ can teach me about utter dependence on the Lord and the Lord alone that I just don’t know from my safe and pleasant experience. We’re all one body.
Hypocrisy and self-assurance *are* something the church has to guard against. Who were Jesus’ biggest enemies? The Pharisees. None of us want to go there. But pretending to be what we are not, and have never been, is just as wrong.
Strive for temporal good – including temporal spiritual good – as you are ready to drop it all at the call of God.
(speaking of reality, I was interrupted while in the middle of thought and it’s run off, so … I’ll catch it later. For now, you can have this).