Retreating to our monastery

My last post triggered quite a bit of response and thought which is exactly what I had hoped for. Keep it coming! I'm not even sure where to begin and I'm sure I'm not going to be able to address all the issues that were brought up.

I would like to hit on one thought that Gabe brought up concerning a Christian's role in this world. To quote Gabe:

"Who cares if the world is growing more secular...aren't we as Christians really citizens of another kingdom...a heavenly kingdom?"

The thing that strikes me about this statement is how it seems to step away from any involvement on any broad level since we are not to be "of this world." Perhaps that's what monasteries are for, but we are called to be the "salt of the earth" and "light of the world (Matt 5:13-16)." Being the light and salt of this world doesn't mean that we retreat to our monastery or wait till Heaven and simply say "Who cares?" Being the light and salt means that we try to make an impact on the world we live in.

If we look in the Old Testament we do not see God taking a deistic approach to the universe he created. He didn't step away and say, "Well the world's falling apart but it will be better once everyone gets to Heaven." Instead he took action by creating Israel whose original purpose was to overtake Canaan and rid the land of evil. God, during the course of Israel's history, constantly tried to set them straight by showing them the errors of their ways.

Don't get me wrong, I know that it is God's place to judge and not ours. But we are called to "love our neighbors as ourselves" and to do that we look out for our neighbor's best interests.

I will get to the issue of Christians appearing dogmatic and unloving later, I just wanted to specifically address this type of mindset. And Gabe, I still love you, I'm just going to try and help you make the right choice. :)


Anonymous said...

Perhaps the fact that the world is becoming more secular and liberal is a good thing. The darker the world becomes, the more brightly the lights of Christians will shine and the more salty will our saltiness appear. People are lost, whether the world is or is not in a major state of moral decline, so perhaps a major decline in morality can work to Christians' advantage.

Gabe said...

Dude, I love ya man, but I hope you aren't just looking for a debate for the sake of debate. :)

Ok, in response. I think you misuderstood what I meant by that post in your comment. The statement following it (Is this world our home...or are we sojouners on a journey back home to God?). I don't know about you, but I don't see monks are being on much of any type of journey.

One of my new favorite words is the word: Missional. Missional means that as Christians and as the church it is our primary purpose to see ourselves on a mission from God to be his advocates in a fallen world. As Christians we are sent with a divine mandate. God has always been about his mission since the fall, we are called to be part of his continuing mission that started with patriarchs, then the prophets, Jesus, apostles, and the church. We are on a journey home. I think that is what you allude to in your mention of Israel. We don't disagree here.

I think where we disagree is the how and what. I would claim our culture is pagan, has been pagan and always will be pagan. That is why I care very little politics. We are not called to 'change' the world, we care called to call people back to God. I don't know if that makes sense. Also, I think the notion of decline from you previous post is another example of where we are speaking different languages. The word decline assumes progress, or at least that we were progressing towards something. I don't neccessarilly think the world is progressing towards or declining from anything. Frankly, again, at this point I don't care. If we are concerned with progress, what is the church doing to make progress on our mission to call people back to God? Is creating laws to regulate morality really a proggesive statement in relation to our mission, if our mission is to call people back to God? I don't think the two relate all that much, if at all.

Don't get me wrong, I think it's the wrong choice to abortate a baby, and I think homosexuality is not how God intended for people to relate, legaally sanctioned or not. All I'm saying is: Let's get much more concerned about calling people back into a relationship with God and less concerned about the state of American culture. We often forget that the church existed for 3 centuries illegally, and has existed illegally in many countries to this date. Those cultures don't even allow the church. We have a blessing in this country to be able to worship freely and vote for laws and leaders, but that blessing becomes a curse we make peace with the culture and become more concerned about the culture and it's state and that the church and the state of the church's mission.

ann said...

Everyone pulls out the OT when they want to beat up on people. :)

blakewell said...

"What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! (Romans 6:1-2a)" This passage instantly popped into my head when I read the anonymous post this morning. While Paul is addressing the Christian individual in this passage, I believe the same type of logic works. We do not let the world become darker so that we shine brighter just like we are not suppose to sin more so that grace will have a greater saving impact on us.

Do we really want to raise our kids or live in an environment that is worse than the world today? I don't want my kids to have more temptations than I did growing up, although that may not be preventable. Ten years from now there is no telling what music or television will be like, and that certainly has an impact on young minds. And like it or not, it has an impact on our minds as well. If we let the world become more sinful than we will be affected no matter how hard we resist.

Gabe - ahhhh, you know your a university fellow when you define the terms. And why would you think I would debate just to debate? Come on Gabe! You know me better than that! :)

Anyways I'm off...sorry I can't discuss more tonight but don't worry, I will post a blog tomorrow or Thursday.

Anonymous said...

You got nothing dood.

Anonymous said...

Your momma's got nothin... OH!!!

Peter Rice said...

I am shocked and appalled at the decadent state of your blog site, Blakewell (or shall I say... Snakewell?), and I heartily admonish you to restrain yourself from further attempts (even under the guise of anonymity) to impugn the reputation of the good mothers of the good citizens of this fine land. I simply won't stand for it!

(Sorry, next time I'll try to post a real, apropos comment to the matter at hand. For now, I just wanted to say "hi!")