In the last post, I spoke about the way that the Pharisees were guilty of misrepresenting God and His mission. Unfortunately this misrepresentation did not end after the coming of Christ. Soon it would infiltrate the church as well.
We read in history of the monastic movements that started to emerge after the time of the apostles. They would withdraw from the world for reasons similar to that of the Pharisees–they did not want to be compromised. They did not want to be ‘worldly’. This idea has repeated itself throughout, in a host of different forms.
Fundamentalism might be said to be the latest culprit. But that’s probably too easy. The reality is that this repeats in all of us, no matter the denomination or movement. And although we might not as easily be tempted to the old ways of ceremonial strictness or monastic retreat, we are quite content to live our whole lives in sub-cultural ‘Christian’ ghettos. We don’t even think twice about it.
Make no mistake, Christianity has its ghettos. Christian sub-culture is a beast, and there’s a hungry market out there. We don’t want pop. Oh no of course not, that’s too ‘worldly’. It’s got to be ‘Christian’ pop (!). We don’t want rock-concerts. Nope, too worldly; but we’ll definitely take Christian bands, and we love worship-concert services with strobe lights. We don’t want movies. No, no, no. Not the worldly kind anyway. But of course, movies are perfectly acceptable as long as they’re the super-corny, B-grade, ‘Christian’-movie kind. We don’t want malls and coffee shops, but we love those mega-churches, with their big mugs of only slightly cheaper ‘Christian’ coffee. And on and on we go. You get the picture–it reduces to absurdity.
Although this might well succeed in creating bad taste and weird people, it does not in any way move forward with the mission; it does not understand the nature of the church; and it is not what Jesus commanded.