Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Flashlights for Christians

I was researching the writers market, looking for a publisher for my children’s stories. While reading the submissions guidelines, I was taken back by some who stated, “not interested in the current contemporary Christian market”. I have been thinking about why?
What turns people off about “contemporary” Christians? Contemporary can be defined as “belonging to the present time”. And maybe that’s it. Do Christians “belong” to the present time? The words of God can be applied to the present time, but they are omnipresent.
I am a Christian, and I have watched the current Christian mindset develop from the “Jesus movement”. There are been a lot of changes, but the most disturbing to me in the idea that Christians are somehow “above” the current culture and social norms. We don’t belong in the churches, building ourselves up and selectively helping those “in need”. I have witnessed a situation that, to me, exemplifies the disparities. There was a married couple in the church, attending each Sunday. The man regularly sexually abused his daughters, and was receiving “counseling”. There was a woman with small children abandoned by her husband. She was struggling to make ends meet. She met a man who liked her and was willing to help her in her life. She had a relationship with him, and was disbarred from the church because she was “in sin”. This made no sense to me. The actions reflected that attitude of that particular church.
For a short time, I was a member of the “helps” ministry. We went to the home of a single woman suffering from breast cancer and did her yard work. There was a lot of grumbling about how people wished they could get help with their yards. The “helps” ministry only lasted about two months. Almost everyone dropped out, because they had “too much to do”.
Now, this may sound like I am bashing Christians, but I am not. I am saying that we need to take a look at how we think about the current state of things. And we need to look at Jesus, and follow his examples. When he came to Peter and the others while they were fishing, he didn’t say “Don’t drink, don’t smoke, don’t swear, and you can be with me.” He walked up to them and said “come, and I will make you fishers of men”.
As I read the New Testament, I find that Jesus was very positive when he spoke to the crowds. Mostly, he was only negative when he was addressing the attitudes and actions of the “contemporary” church. Just some food for thought.
If the world is crumbling in morality and attitude, we have culpability. If we, as Christians, are doing what we are suppose to be doing, instead of raising voices about the decline and decay, we would be leading the way with really bright flashlights.