You might be Wrong

One of my co-workers forwarded me a blog about writing blogs. There were 10 great tips. I wish that I could recall each of them, but I deleted the email and blog address. The one suggestion that stuck with me was the need to focus. Apparently, Blog writers that do well stay focused on their subject matter. I am supposed to be writing about “Seeing the face of God in the city.”

As I write this entry, 2009 is coming to a close. It is a good time to reflect. If I could only share one learning with you it would be this: you might be wrong…

I grew up in a faith culture that demanded certainty. We needed to know who was and was not a Christian. In and of itself, this is not bad or wrong, but more often than not the litmus tests were culturally biased.

In my world, Christians were people who didn’t drink, dance, listen to rock and roll, get tattoos, or wear blue jeans to church. Men never grew their hair long and women were submissive. Every Christian I knew looked like me and had the same values. It never occurred to me that these rules and assumptions weren’t part of God’s plan for God’s people.

Some of you are probably appalled that someone could grow up with this kind of faith. Others are saying, “You got off easy, we had way more rules.”

One of the most difficult things that Christians are asked to do is untangle culture and faith. That is what the Apostle Paul was trying to do in 1 Corinthians 8. Some thought that eating food sacrificed to animals was wrong; others thought it was OK.

We no longer talk about food sacrificed to idols, but we do have our issues, don’t we? We are not always good at separating our cultural convictions from our faith. Some of us would like to believe that our cultural understandings and our faith are the same. They are not.

Living in the city has forced me to emerge from my narrow, culturally defined faith. I know Christians who drink, dance, listen to rock and roll, get tattoos and wear blue jeans to church. (I have even been known to preach a sermon while wearing blue jeans.) God is not concerned about the length of a person hair or if it is a man or a woman who leads the church. After all, God has a reputation of ignoring the outward appearance, and choosing to focus on the heart. Worshipping with people of different class, social and racial backgrounds have expanded my understanding of the depth and breadth of the Kingdom of God.

I do not have a perfect track record with keeping resolutions, but in 2010 I want to hold more loosely to my faith convictions. Not because God is wishy-washy, but because I am not very good at separating my culture from my faith.