I am interested in escaping the Christian bubble.

I live in an area that has more churches per square foot than any other area in the world. I worked for ten years at a Christian bookstore. I now work at a Christian publisher that is part of a worldwide ministry. I attend church every Sunday. My friends are mostly people I know through work (Christians) or church (probably Christians) or my writers group (also Christians). Blah blah blah.

Christian culture has a way of closing itself off from the rest of the world. It isn’t always intentional. Sometimes it is, but not with me. It just happens that my social sphere is dominated by Christian people. So what do I do with that?

cross_embroideredEngaging culture has to be one of the toughest thing that Christians can attempt. We come to the table with a ton of cross-embroidered baggage. We are known for imposing our moral code on others instead of our love. Somewhere along the line, we started making “clean” versions of “dangerous” mainstream media products. I know; I worked in a Christian bookstore and I work at a Christian publisher.

In truth, Christians are just people. I don’t know why Christians like putting the cross on everything (to make it faith-friendly?), or why the standard for Christian rock music is set lower than the mainstream. People are weird sometimes. My wife doesn’t like Dr Pepper and I don’t like pickles. But I don’t think that these preferences should stop us from going to restaurants that serve one or the other.

As for engaging culture, I think the thing that hangs up a lot of Christians is that they feel called to be different from the world. The easiest way to do that, I guess, is by sticking a cross or a Jesus fish or a Bible verse on something and telling everyone that that thing is different. But when Jesus said that His people were to be set apart, I really don’t think that this is what He meant.

I think he meant that we should do things like love our enemies when the easy thing to do would be to hate them or avoid them. And sometimes, we don’t have to do much to avoid non-Christians. I certainly don’t. So maybe I should be doing more to put myself in places where church people don’t normally go. Not because I want to blend in with them and not because I want to clash with them (or judge them), but because a room full of lights doesn’t do any good to the dark world outside the church doors.

I’m not going to quit my job at the Christian publisher and I’m not going to stop going to church. I don’t want to spend less time with my family or friends. To be honest, I’m still thinking through what I am going to do to start engaging culture. I suppose I’m going to keep my eyes open for opportunities to show more love than judgement and hope people see that it is my faith rather than my good nature (because between you and me, my nature isn’t very good most of the time).

Do you struggle with this? Care to share any of your thoughts?

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7 responses to “I am interested in escaping the Christian bubble.

  1. Oh, definitely I struggle in this areas too. I’m moving in a few weeks, and God convicted me that here I’ve been living beside all these people for a year and half, and I’ve never said one word to any of them about Jesus Christ. ouch. I started witnessing on my blog, but that’s painless. I don’t have to face the rejection, they just don’t have to read me anymore.
    I agree with everything you said.
    Keep making me think!
    Melinda

  2. This conviction has plagued me for some time. I work from home where I can consume all the worship music and words of faith I can squeeze into the day, I’m active in my church and I have a wonderful collection of believing friends. My “bubble” is a safe place to be. I’m taking a tiny step into the World with a part-time job at a local coffee shop where not all the hurting people think they’ve got it all together because they go to church. I pray God will use me there. Good post and food for thought, Josh.

  3. I like this and find that one of the hardest parts of making a conscious choice to engage in the culture, is the criticism that if we have time for that, then we need to be doing more for the church. Our whole family (including kids) participate in a community theatre organization. First of all, it’s mega-fun. But, besides that, we have made a very conscious and prayerful decision as a family to get to know people in our community outside of the church. Otherwise, we’d fully inhabit that Christian bubble and never come out. And yet, it comes up at our church occasionally, how we should just be doing more plays for our own church, couldn’t we just use those performance gifts to ‘glorify God’ in our own church, etc. Well, yes, yes we could. But that would be missing the point completely. We spend a lot of time investing in our church and its activities, but surely we should have the ability to be involved in our community and not be criticized for it or guilted because of it.

  4. Engaging the lost should of course always be done in love but with a purpose and goal of sharing the gospel with them. Simply letting our little light shine and hoping they see our faith through our acts of kindness or love doesn’t give that person any information to turn their life to Christ and it doesn’t give the Holy Spirit any tools to work on that persons heart and convict them of sin, and show them their need of a savior. God will simply find another person he can use to reach them. (a talking donkey if need be). I thank God that Paul and the other apostles didn’t use that approach. Paul reasoned with people, he preached Christ crucified and he boldly spoke truth into their lives so that’s their blood wasn’t on his hands. Our words should speak truth in love. Otherwise our little light will shine no differently then the Mormon, Jehovah Witness or atheist standing next to you letting their little light shine. Basically you’ll all be standing in the dark bumping each other your imaginary flash lights.

  5. Pingback: The Gospel of Bacon | Josh Mosey | Writer·

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