Monday, July 29, 2013

Misconception #3: The Christian life is black & white.

[This is the 3rd in a series of 10 Misconceptions some MKs face.] 

I wish the Christian life were black and white. When you are growing up in a Christian home it's easy to start to think some things are just common knowledge, and that all Christians believe the same thing. Now I'm not talking about how Jesus is the only way to heaven and how the Bible is true--those things of course are non-negotiable. I'm thinking more along the lines of going to movies, playing cards, what music you listen to, what clothes you wear. Why do we choose to believe the things we do? 

Part of it is the culture in which we grow up. If we want to have an impact on our culture around us, we have to be involved in our culture--"in the world but not of the world." This is a hard distinction to make at times. I see two extremes in the culture: living exactly like the world with no distinction whatsoever or...being Amish. I am not Amish. I am a Christian, and I started to meet other people who said they were Christians but did not draw the "line" in the same place my parents did. So how do we tell and where do we draw the "line"?

I think this is why it is important to teach Biblical principles and the reasons why we do what we do. I think a lot of times, we as Christians are afraid to ask questions. We don't want to hurt someone's feelings. We don't want to cause a rift. But sometimes I think it might be that we don't want to ask the questions because we don't know all the answers. But that's ok. It's ok to not be perfect and to not have all the answers, because we have a BOOK (the Bible) in which God has given us everything we need to know that pertains to life and godliness. If the Christian life were just a list of things to do or not to do, we would not have to be Bereans and search the Scriptures to learn and grow and get to know the Lord in a closer and deeper way. 

Find ways to communicate and respectfully question why we do the things that we do. (Using the four rules of communication from Ephesians 4.) And don't be afraid to BE questioned. When I moved away from home, I moved to teach at a school that has over 70 churches represented. I also get a chance to travel with the Faith Ministry Team (high school ensemble) that visits other churches (sometimes of other cultures) and schools. And I've been privileged to visit churches around the country. We don't all do things the same way.

For example, when I grew up we learned that we didn't go to movies in the theater. I understood the reasoning to be that Christians needed to be careful with who they associated with and what we put into our minds, but honestly I didn't really understand why. And I didn't question the rule. So when I was about 22 years old and was asked as part of a babysitting job to take the kids to the movies, I had to figure out what I believed. Since this apparently wasn't an issue for the people I was asked to babysit, I did my due diligence and researched the movie via Plugged In, thought it was probably a very family friendly movie and I enjoyed the experience. What I learned from that personally was that yes, I do need to be careful with what I put into my mind, but this can happen with a movie I watch in a theater, a movie I rent and watch at home, or a show I watch on TV. The medium is not as important as the state of my heart.  

Reality: the Christian life has a lot of gray areas. 

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