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lindagray

Back to Our Roots

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I’m excited the North American church is dying. Christians not having the influence we once had in the 1900s gives me great hope. For the past 100 years we’ve had a lot of cultural converts. Everyone is a Christian because they grew up in Texas. Or they go to church. Or their mom and dad raised them that way. Hell, according to Pew Research 70% of Americans identify as “Christian.” But the vast majority of those responses are nothing more than cultural identification, not Christianity. I imagine that’s why so many people despise Christians. Their belief is cultural, and no one intends to follow the man they claim governs their life, so we end up this giant homogenous blob of hypocrites that judge and condemn people, instead of looking like they did in 165 AD. Instead of rushing to the aid of others, or paying for pagan burials like our ancestors did, we have half-hearted followers who run rampant through the streets of social media pointing the finger to everyone except themselves.
The reason I’m excited about the shift is because as the cultural converts die, vibrant Christians will take their place. Churches will be smaller and stranger to the public, but they’ll be healthier. More organizations committed to social issues that love others without borders but are unashamed about their faith will pop up. We won’t be relevant or even “cool” to the populace at large, but neither were our brothers and sisters in antiquity. It’s not cool to give your money to the poor or tithe to a church. Noble maybe, but what’s cooler is to keep your money, buy the Nintendo Switch, a vacation, and some new clothes. It’s not cool to wait to engage in intimate relationships until you’re married because you trust it will enrich your marriage. What’s cool is hooking up. It’s not cool that you didn’t get all crazy at the bar with your friends and end up taking your shirt off. What’s cool is getting hammered, making out with a random stranger, and then re-telling the story on Instagram.
Christians were never relevant or cool to begin with. Celsus realized this from the beginning. Culture at large will see the things we do and traditions we follow as silly myths. But the love, grace, and acceptance we extend they won’t be able to argue with if we truly live the life of Jesus to others.
So while Christianity may never be relevant or cool, here’s what it will be: Attractive.
People will be curious why you were kind to them when they may have been a jerk to you. That’s attractive. People will wonder why you value the broken, poor, and marginalized and use your finances, life, and time to help them (even if they never change). That’s attractive. People will marvel that your friend group doesn’t just consist of people the same color, sexual orientation, or nationality as you, but it spans different beliefs, races, and political views. They’ll be shocked you serve, love, laugh, and mourn with them. That’s attractive.
And finally, people will come to understand the truth of what we believe as Dr. Timothy Keller so eloquently put it:
“So loved that we don’t despair when we do wrong, but so sinful that we have no right to be puffed up when we do right.”
So here’s to a vibrant, attractive future. 

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