Sunday, November 4, 2007

What have I Become?

I am in the middle of reading a book called "They Like Jesus,But Not the Church".
It really hits home, and not in a church is bad etc... But in a mode of Look at what the Bible calls for the church to do and where we are...
The last section I read had the following timeline for a Christian:

Phase 1) We become Christians. We still work, live and go to places those who are not Christians would go. We still may have issues with getting drunk or going clubbing etc... We still have friends outside the 'church'.
Phase 2) We become Part of the 'church' life. We start to get involved in the 'church'. We still might hang out with our non-Christian friends but only in a healthy environment etc... In this Phase, the longer we are Christians the less non-Christian Friends we have. Even though we live by them, work with them etc... We do not associate as often out side of work with them. In this stage we start to lose the zeal and desire to see these non-Christian friends saved. (Shouldn't it be the other way around? The more we walk with Christ and get to know His heart, we would want to see them all reached.)
Phase 3) We become part of the Christian bubble. In this stage we slowly withdrawal from anyone or anything non-christian. Yet we still think we are connected due to still listening to the music or watching the movies. But we fool ourselves. Even at the work parties we do not hang out with any non-christian friends. We get more excited about Going overseas to the Mission Field on summer trips than about the mission field we live in every day.
Phase 4) The final stage: We become like Jonah. When told to help the lost we run away (Jonah 1:3). We take delight thinking that God will one day punish them all for their sins (Jonah 4:5). And just like Jonah, even when God gives us a second chance we get mad when He does the same for the 'Wicked' (Jonah 4:8-9). We are content living in our little Christian subculture as citizens of the bubble, but we don't even know it because everyone in our social circle is also in that bubble. We don't KNOW ANYONE who is not a Christian. We get more excited about the Christian CD or the latest Christian Novel then we do thinking how God can use us in our own hometown. We might invite a neighbor to a Christmas play etc... but for the most part our attitude towards someones lostness is indifferent.
WOW. Am I a stage 3? Maybe even a 4? I can't even think about it..
Why is it that I would be glad to give money to a local charity or do a walk-a-thon for them but I won't actually go volunteer down at their mission?
There are how many homeless or families living under the poverty level in West Des Moines? What am I doing to reach them? Have I built relationships at the local shelter? I have training skills, retail skills... I could give a crash course on how to work and keep a job. But I don't.
Have I joined phase 4 and not known it?
The Author uses the lyrics from a Talking Heads song to sum it all up in a cry to God!...
"My God! What have I become!!"

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