I finished reading my book, The Next Christians, by Gabe Lyons. It was incredible. The entire book was a tug-of-war for my heart and mind though. I kind of liked it.
I enjoy discipline. And I’d even go so far to say that I enjoy being corrected. Well, when I know I’m wrong. For instance, if I’m gossiping, it doesn’t hurt my feelings at all for someone to call me out on it. Because I KNOW better and am acting foolish. There are certainly some parts of my life that require constant accountability, and I very much appreciate those people who are willing to be that person for me.
This book, however, was challenging thoughts that I very well believed were right.
Parts of it were so offensive to me that I would set the book down and stare at it like, “How dare you?!” and then pick it up a few seconds later to see what else he had to say. It’s like I knew what he was saying held some weight and I KNEW believing him meant making huge changes in my attitude and lifestyle. At times I had to force myself to just nod my head and move on. And then I let it all soak in my head later.
The author was quite obviously turned off by the “Insider” Christians (refer to previous post for clarification). Knowing that I exhibit these aspects of Christianity in my every day life, there were tons of paragraphs that were hard to swallow.
The result of the book could have drastic effects on how I live in the world. There are two chapters in the book that stick out in my mind. “Provoked, Not Offended” was about how Christians need to be provoked when confronted with what we perceive as being nasty sins… drug addiction, abuse, pornography, murder, etc. Rather than being offended by the wickedness of the sin, we need to engage with the sinner and seek to restore them back to the life God intended for them. One example was of a guy taking a drug addict into his home for her 5 day detox in preparation for the rehab she was entering that said her current condition was “too severe.” That much was easy for me to jump on board with. I can engage, right? But HOW can I engage when I live such an “Insider” lifestyle? When the sinners around me perceive that I want nothing to do with them?
That is most definitely false. But I do know that I don’t come across that way. That’s what God is changing in me. I need to be more engaged with non believers.
The other chapter, “Grounded, Not Distracted” was like I had written it myself. Well, a more eloquent and wealthy me. But it was the Insider’s defense for staying away from those types of activities. What the chapter made me realize is I have an insurmountable power living within me. The power of a LIVING Holy Spirit. I am strong. I have strong convictions. Maybe God has given me these strong convictions so that I CAN be in these places without compromising my character and faith. It talked about ways “Restorers” can live among the wicked of the world, working for companies that are ruining social America, and be grounded, moral Christians who inspire the people and organizations to do greater things. Things that will impact the culture of America.
I’m going over these two thoughts. How can I be more engaged with sinners without giving up my strong testimony? What can I do to change something I hate about American culture? There are some questions raised in the book that I’m definitely searching scripture on. Things that sent up red flags.
All in all, it was a great read. If you’re looking for a way to challenge your theology, or strengthen your faith… give it a go! The DustinandRachel library has 1, but it is currently out of stock. The reader plans to return it soon, if you’re interested. :D