Stick Your Nose In It

As mentioned in this post, there are different ways to look at our diversity.  For me, I’m the kind of person who likes to enjoy diversity and our differences.  Rather than hope for some washed out world, I think it is great to have a varied culture. 

While I don’t think anyone would say they wish for a world where everyone is the same, it’s easy to act that way.  When we don’t undertand or get another group,  by stopping at “they have their culture and I have mine” we do a disservice.  Really it’s a passive way of discounting someone else’s way of life.  We should be willing to learn about another culture and way of life-it could teach us a lot about ourselves.

In a strictly Christian sense, we get in to trouble when we just try to ignore or blow by a non-Christian culture.  It’s easy to think that is better than attacking culture as some groups do, but it really is not.  It still separates Christians as a whole from every other culture and worldview.  This approach results in a couple of things.

For one, it makes it easy to compartmentalize and have a relative view.  This is the idea of “every belief is as valid as another.” While every diverse belief deserves respect, it is not inherently valid because of that.  Second, it results in the Christian subculture that has grown so huge in the past 10-15 years.  We have our own radio, tv, clothes, books, schools, social web, and breath mints.  This is not a good thing.  Mirroring culture and trying to stick a christian label on it does no good.

In the same way we must reach outside of racial and ethnic barriers, we Christians need to leave our christian “ghetto” and plug into the world around us.  Appreciate and respect the diversity of belief or non-belief and interact.

Honesty is the Best Policy

One final thought on this weeks atheism discussion:

Justified or not, many people still like to consider America as a “Chrisitian Nation.” Most americans identify themselves as Christians, say they believe in God, they pray, etc. But what this amounts to is a christian culture that is not the same as a christian lifestlye or worldview. Everyone likes to say they are christian, but ultimately what does that mean?

I’m not trying to be legalistic here, far from it. But giving yourself or your group/culture a name generally identifies you as something. What does being a christian mean?

Some might say that “evangelical” means something, but I’m pretty unhappy with that label as well. But that’s another blog.

Back to this christian culture. In my experience, many/most people are lifestyle atheists. That is by no means meant to be a cut against atheist or their morals. But just as atheists have no reason to give thought to what God may have to say about what they think or do, most people who claim to be christian are in no way different. And if I’m honest, a large amount of the time I can do the same thing. So what does it all mean?

It is not our decision what other people do, so I doubt we can actually “fix” the problem of the lifestyle atheist. We can be realistic, however. We are not a Christian nation, and we need to deal with that. Facing the facts leads us to a path of solution.

We who claim to be Christians need to be honest and forthright about our failures rather than brushing them under the rug. Along with that we must show grace and love to those who fail.

One additional final thought to the atheists who have read/may read the blog: I acknowledge that we Christians are broken and that we fail to live up to our own ideals. We often hold culture to standards that we ourselves do not keep. However as we try to extend grace to others we also want to be honest and stop pretending. We want to be real. We know that we can’t begin to discuss issues of science if we can’t even be honest about the issues of our heart.

So keep us real and keep us honest. Call us out when we don’t love God and love Others. We promise to keep you on your toes if you keep us on ours.