For a while now, it’s been cool to be rebellious. James Dean, the Revolutionary War, Che Guevara, the Civil Rights movement, and the Empire Records movie all serve as pretty sexy examples of taking down the man, standing up for individuality and doing it rather eloquently. Now some of those examples are a little more legit than others (despite his sweet tee-shirts, Che was a jerk), I think our culture has made us look up to those that stand for something out of the ordinary, to rebel against the status quo. I’m a sucker for this attitude. It’s why as a child I chose to play soccer (a sport my dad knew nothing about), chose French in high school (I didn’t want to learn the common language of Spanish), and currently watch movies only a select few have actually heard of. Not to say that I don’t enjoy soccer, French, and indie movies, I do. It’s just that if given the choice between the usual and the unusual, I’ll almost always choose the unusual.
A common line for hip, progressive Christians directed towards the American Church is the phrase, “I want to be known for what I am for, not for what I am against.” Typically said in relation to the Church’s reaction towards homosexuality, abortion, other religions, etc,* many people in the Church are tired of being known for what they are not and would rather be known for what they are. Frequently, this same crowd turns to a Christianity that is marked by pushing forward a Kingdom of God system; a relationally-driven, social-justice type of Faith that is more concerned with meeting people where they are than decrying their sins from afar. I’m all for this.
(bring it back together)
So how do those two paragraphs fit together?
I’m one of those “hip, progressive Christians.” I don’t like that the Church is known for being against stuff.
But what I do is pretty lame. I think I’m known for being against the Church. I don’t like what I’ve seen her do, so I complain about all of her problems.
I’m not excited that the Church is commonly known for what it’s against, but more often than not, that’s typically how I approach the Church itself. It’s fun to be the rebel; the cool, young revolutionary bent on pointing out everyone’s mistakes. But it’s about as effective as the Church’s efforts against homosexuality, abortion, and other religions, etc. As messy as the Church can be, it’s my family on earth and it’s God’s vessel.
I want to be known for what I’m for, not what I’m against.
*This is not intended to belittle the issues of homosexuality, abortion, or other religions. They certainly need to be addressed by the Church… they might just not need to be what we are most vocal about.