what’s your type?
I’m reading a great book called The Next Christians by Gabe Lyons. I started it yesterday and am about a third of the way done. Already, I’m stoked to what sort of changing effects this book will have on me and those who hear the message.
Most of my reading yesterday focused on the disunity in the Christian community. It’s hard to define a demographic of what we like and what we do because we are disconnected with each other. Across denominations, across segments, and even within our own churches. We don’t look like each other. Some of us look like the world. And some of us are so separated from the world.
The author of the book identified popular groups of Christianity in America today. Read through these and decide which one best fits you. He categorized them as either “Separatists Christians” or “Cultural Christians.”
Their lives primarily involve Christian activities. The purposeful stay away from secular groups and organizations, sending their kids to Christian schools, listening to only Christian music, and associated themselves with known-Christian brands. In their mind, the are trying to protect their purity and integrity by dissociating with known sin. In other’s minds, they are judgmental and “holier than thou.”
The Culture Warrior
This group values the hope that America and Christianity will be deeply intertwined through all eternity. They remain on defense to all those secularist politicians who cry for separation of church and state. Their hobbies include reading newsletters, listening to talk radio, and reading magazines by Christian notables. They are passionate about moral decline in America and will fight anyone who dares stand in their way.
This group of Christians live every day with the sole intent of getting people “saved.” Offending people might just be something that happens along the way. While their motivation is sincere and compassionate, they don’t always come off that way, preaching condemnation of man at every street corner (or slipping Gospel tracts in the Halloween candy!).
The three above represent the “Separatist Christians.” The next two are the “Cultural Christians.”
These Christians are spiritually connected to the faith, but culturally, they are nothing more than an active participant in social America. They want to be seen as normal in a country that has such negative and distorted views of Christianity. These think the “Separatist Christians” are crazy. They fear alienation from the crowd. They seek to be “relevant” without giving meaning to the Bible, and the personal disciplines of the faith.
This group is just as it sounds. People who very generously give give give. Of their time and money. This is their defining mark in the world.. “doing good.” But these good works often replace the intimate connection with Jesus. In their good works, they forget to share the message of WHY they give. Why they care. They are attempting to prove worth in the sight of God by good deeds.
So… Did one of those fit you? After reading those 5 yesterday, I totally saw myself as a Separatist bouncing between an Evangelizer and an Insider… and I’m married to a Culture Warrior. And then I read the last group.
Ah… The Restorers.
These are the “Next Christians” as Lyons calls it. This group is “breathing life into the world.” I’m going to pretty much just quote him….
“Restorers exhibit the mind-set, humility, and commitment… to rejuvenate the momentum of the faith. They have a peculiar way of thinking, being, and doing that is radically different from previous generations…. Conversion isn’t their only motive. Their mission is to infuse the world with beauty, grace, justice, and love. They envision the world as it was meant to be (The Garden of Eden) and they work toward that vision. [They] seek to mend earth’s brokenness. … Through sowing seeds of restoration, they believe others will see Christ through us and the Christian faith will reap a much larger harvest…. They don’t separate from the world or blend in; rather, they thoughtfully engage.”
Whoa. I mean… seriously. After reading that passage, I could feel my heart beating heavy. He so eloquently described the pains of my heart. How I want to live more connected to the cause of Christ. How I want to spur others toward living. We need Christians to band together! The world has a nasty view of Christianity! We are FAILING at living out the faith. We are FAILING at showing people the healing power of an Almighty Father. We are FAILING to recognize the Creator for all He has made and is making new every day. We are living our lives dependent on man to get us through. Blaming God when things go wrong. And treating our fellow Christians as chopped liver. No wonder the world hates us! Right now, I’m not too crazy about us either!
My heart yearns for revival. Revival of lives! I’m so angry over the way we as Christians live. I need to do better to not seem as though I despise the world by removing myself from it. We need to understand that our actions are causing the world to turn away, even when done in the best of intentions. I know that’s a lesson I’m learning over and over, and I want to learn to be a better evangelizer. We need to all want that. We need to decide together once and for all that we are going to conquer this faith and be souled out.