The Political Christian

My reflection on Chapter 7 of Unchristian:

Dealing with the perception that Christians are primarily motivated by a political agenda and promote right-wing politics.

This chapter did not stick out to me too much.

I’ve blogged about this before so I will not spend too much time on it.

Obviously, younger generations are less traditional in their political viewpoints and agendas. Their stands on issues like homosexuality, media decency, sexuality, and family is continual shifting away from what their parents believed.
The younger generations are more willing to compromise their opinions to get the job done. They do not hold strongly to one position. As you can see in today’s relativistic, post-modern mindset!
Also the young generations are more skeptical than any others before them. Especially of the Bible.

As you have heard me rant before: I believe that politics are important but they are not worth dying for. By that I mean we need to put focus on the right thing. God and our love for Jesus is the right thing. If we win an election but loss our soul in the process, then it is not worth it. Also we need not put too much emphasis on Politics, nor on one particular party. Christians should never have a political party of association. We should go a lot deeper than just right wing or left wing. But instead vote for change. World change through the love of Jesus.

One party does not have all the right answers. Don’t put your eggs in one basket, don’t vote nessicarly on one issue. But one which is the best canidadte to lead us as a whole.

Also Chrisians need to lear about respect.
Respect others who have different believes.
Respect the leaders of our nation despite their agenda.
And do not get confused by the word respect!

Also do not think you can solve all the world’s problems with politics, cause you cannot. God can!
Do not be a hypocrite, but do vote. Do pray for our leaders. And do engage politics with a Christ-like attitude! And do promote good thing through politics in light of the Bible.

The Sheltered Christian

My reflection on chapter 6 of UnChristian:

The perception that Christians are boring, unintelligent, old-fashion, and out of touch with reality.

The Christian culture or sub-culture, seems to be well behind the secular culture. It is not as exciting to outsiders.

The perception continues to build since many outsiders see the “moral behavior” of Christians as boring, dull, predictable, lifeless, disconnected, and a rigorous standard of rules that keeps Christians away from pleasures.

Some outsiders go so far to say that Christians do not even have room to think and act for themselves. Their religion keeps them in an insulated box.

And there are good points here that outsiders are making. Think about how much time we Christians spend together doing things together for our own enjoyment. IN OUR OWN BUBBLE!

Instead of engaging a social club, we need to be out in the world as Jesus was.
Outsiders are not aware of their main problems. The true Christian worldview is not prevalently known by all people. We are failing at explaining the problem of sin to our common men. We are failing at sharing God’s love and Gospel!
we are not in the culture creating, contributing, and fighting for good art, music, history, literature, government, science, medicine, education, and social justice. Christians have had a history of creating and contributing to culture in the past and through this they have transformed the world and demonstrated God’s love and the Gospel to others. But today we are failing at this also!

Today’s younger generations are more flexible in viewpoints, more diverse in opinion, more comfortable with just about anything…they enjoy searching for new sources of input. They/We are more protected and more safe. We like safety. Everyone is entitled to safety and their own way of life and opinion and viewpoint.

Of course, every life is messy. Sin is messy. Fortunately our God is a god who can work in the mess, in fact he works better when people’s lives are messy and out of whack.

What do we do?

As is, Christians are not sharing the Gospel enough. They do not even have time to.
We need Balance. We need to spend less time doing in church things and more time reaching out in the world.

We have a responsibility to engage culture and engage lives. We have relationships with outsiders, but are we really sharing the Gospel with them? Are we salt? Are we light? Are we being the city on a hill?
These things take time and energy, are we devoting time and energy to the lost and our outreach to them?

Love dispels fear. Do not be afraid. But let the Holy spirit work and speak words through you.

Have compassion. Expect trouble, persecution, and to be offended. But do not let it bring yo down.

Be ready at any time. God wants to use us if we are willing and ready. Listen to the Holy Spirit!
Also be ready and willing to help the desperate: the sick, the needy, in gritty, real and raw places.

We come back to the idea of balance:
We are to be in but not of the world.
Pure and proximity.
Both are important.

One of the most important things to do is to forget about having this “Christian culture or subculture”
and to simply live in (but not of) this real world.
Secondly inside of this world we all a have a sphere of influence -people we see, live with, go to class with, sit by, in real life at school, at work, and everywhere we go normally.
These people are the people God has placed in your life to talk to, interact with, and share God’s love with.

A new kind of Theologian

Theology is a passion of mine. I love studying it. I am no expert. In fact one reason why I love theology so much is because it makes me think and I challenge almost everything in it while it challenges everything in my life. My main source is the Bible. I struggle with the issues regularly. There are tons of resources, classes, theories, and what not but the most important is what the Word of God says.

What really gets me going, is the fact that there are quite a few other Gen Yers who are really strong in Theology. But they are not limited to specialization. You see, us Gen Yers are tired of all the categories, all the specific politics that is within anything, including theology.

Instead of fighting between conservative and liberal theologies, the next Generation of theologians are wise in that they want to work together. They want to know what the essentials of our faith are. They want to engage culture and share the Good News, instead of gaining respect among the elite Christians fighting for their side of an issue. Instead they want to use their arguments in real life. They want to led people to Christ and be well-informed. Instead of merely arguing theology, they want to live theology. We are at a point where we can do big things through the love of Jesus. At point where we can do what truly is essential in our faith, evangelism.

Okay, yes we must be careful NOT to fall into extremely liberal thoughts. For example we do not want to be so engaging that we loose our doctrines. We need to be engaging but we do not have to compromise our doctrines and standards. We can be emerging but not emergent! And the beautiful thing is that many Gen Y theologians understand this. We are sort of trying to get the best of both conservative (strong doctrines) and liberal (engaging culture) theologies.

The point is we are able to dig into our roots, the Bible. We are to be “in but not of the World!”
And I am so excited that a lot of young theologians are ready to make social changes real, engage our neighbors with the true Gospel, and yet not loose the actual doctrines of the Word of God. We ourselves need to remian in the Wword, but also we are called to disciple followers.
Evangelism is part one, discipleship is on-going and continual!

Baptist/Calvinistic/Evangelistic?

one of my friends had this label on Facebook for his “religious beliefs”:

Baptist/ Calvinistic /Evangelistic.

At first I just laughed and smiled. It is interesting that he choose three categories to classify his beliefs. But then the more I thought about it the more I admired his classification and his beliefs. In fact, I think that Baptist/Calvinistic/Evangelistic fits me quite well.
Go to fullsize image Go to fullsize image Go to fullsize image
I recently read another Michael Patton article called “Evangelical for a Reason.”In this article Michael tells us why he is Evangelical. He discusses the flaws with Evangelicalism but then he also suggests that Evangelicalism is probably the best answer,

“I am an evangelical. I am not an ignorant evangelical. I am a learning evangelical. But over the last ten years, as I have studied Scripture, history, the enlightenment, and the early church, as I have traveled to other countries, engaged in gracious reflective dialogue with Evolutionists, Arminians, Egalitarians, Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, Emergers, mystics, new-agers, the New Atheists, and those who know no labels, I have become more of a Reformed Evangelical than ever. True, I would not die for every aspect of my theology like I once would. True, I don’t think “the other side” is as ignorant as I once did. But I am more convinced based upon my studies than I ever was.”

I suggest reading some of his posts and watching some of the free theology classes on his website, there is a lot of great stuff there!

Personally I am still learning so much about these things and can’t make such a confident claim as Michael does. I am not quick to jump on the latest and newest theology bus or trend. I like to do research before putting belief in anything.

As far as the emergent church, I also agree with Michael: I honestly think the heart of the majority of the emergent is right. They are after souls for Christ. They want to engage culture and display Christ to people in this culture. They want to be relevant. And in some ways this is great. But we have to be careful and draw a line somewhere. I personally am agianst “flexible theology and doctrines” the you hear about in Velvet Elvis.

And also we need to be careful when engaging the culture. We cannot let ourselves be so engaged that we are invisible, of the world, and no different than the useless Hellenistic Jews. (No offense to any Jews who are still celebrating Alexander the Great out there…)

In general, I still have lots to learn…I am also trying not to classify all of my beliefs. The most important things I am learning right now is deciding what is essential to my faith and what is not. I still have a lot to learn. I agree whole-heatedly that we need to have critical minds when studying these things.

Engage Culture!

“For an entire Christian community to neglect, generation after generation, serious attention to the mind, nature, society, the arts — all spheres created by God and sustained for his own glory — may be, in fact, sinful.”
In The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind, Church historian Mark Noll

I really love this quote. Sometimes as Christians we live in our own sub-culture. We are afraid of the world and do not engage in it. We hide ourselves from the enemy. Within our own group of Christian friends, we are not fully seeing God’s beauties. We are not fully enjoying God and his creations.

Society, arts, and nature in a secular world actually displays God’s greatness. And His heart for a lost world. We need to engage the culture as Christians. And by doing so we will be in their territory. We will have a chance to glorify god and show His love to the lost. We need not be in our own sheltered sub-cultures. But we need to be a part of our world and culture.

Yes, we need to do this, but we need to do it carefully too!
I recently read an article about how we should engage culture as evangelistic Christians. I caught myself as guilty of doing many of the things that it suggest us not to do.

The article suggest that we engage culture: 1) prayerfully, 2) carefully, 3) biblically-theologically, 4) redemptively, 5) humbly and 6) selectively.

It made me think. And thought I would share it with you.

In Christ,
Alex