Monday, June 9, 2008

Rising to the "Sheltered" Challenge (from "unChristian")

ConsideringUnchristian: What A New Generation Really Thinks About Christianity ...An Why It Matters Groundbreaking research from the Barna Group by Dave Kinnaman and Gabe Lyons

How should the church go about correcting its “unChristian” response of the sheltered life in order to reach a desperate and dying world with the saving message of Jesus Christ? Those outside of the practice of the Christian faith perceive Christianity as a whole to be antiquated and out of touch with the rest of the world. We use language that means little to the world. We live in our own sheltered communities and faith in Jesus Christ is viewed much like “joining a social club.” That is the primary distinction that the world sees in us as a group.

As a Christian looking from the outside in in at the practice of patriocentricity, I note well the cultural irrelevancy of their views and outlook. They are, as Metzger points out (from the previous post), that the group representing patriocentricity is in fact “pietistic, separatist and conceited.” How much more so do they appear to our culture and how much less respect for the message of the Gospel do outsiders have as a result of their cultural irrelevancy and elitist mentality?

Here are just a few of the many valuable suggestions that are pertinent to patriarchy/patriocentricity specifically. I could paraphrase it all, but it says so much so well that I don't want to alter it or diminish the impact. I also strongly encourage all Christians who are mentoring and discipling teens and twenties and even those in their thirties to buy this book and study it. Technically, my birth year classifies me with the oldest of the Busters, a focus of the book. So let me serve as an advocate for my generation by quoting only a few of the thoughts of the authors, particularly as they pertain to patriarchy and patriocentricity.

From pages 133 – 140:

    • We are responsible to engage the world. (Matt 5:13-16)
    • Not Being Fearful: Many Christians shelter themselves out of fear, trying to barricade themselves against any and every threat. But the Bible says that we should not be driven by alarm, because perfect love dispels fear (I John 4:18). We should be motivated by love and confidence (2 Tim 1:7)...
    • Not Being Offended: Being offended is also the wrong response to the challenges of a new generation. Can you think of one time when Jesus was offended by people, especially outsiders? It is not recorded in Scripture, except when he blasted self-righteous religious leaders and those who were desecrating the temple.
    • Helping the Desperate: (Matt 28:19-20; Mark 16:15; Acts 1:8) This instruction does not refer merely to geographical locations but also compels us to reach people we might otherwise consider unworthy. Jesus said he did not come for the healthy but the sick, not to help the righteous but sinners (Matt. 9:12-13; see Acts 10:30-48). God wants to use us in the gritty and raw places of people's lives, but our usefulness is hindered if we are more concerned about our protection from sin than the effects of sin in the lives of others.
    • Engaging the World: When people say that America is a mission field, it would be more appropriate to say it is many diverse mission fields... “It really would be like quitting your job and going overseas to serve as a missionary. You truly immerse yourself in the lifestyles, decisions, relationships and choices of a completely unique group of people. After culture shock sets in you have to be accepted into their 'tribe.' And it is a complex, strange world where even the best intentions may not be enough.” ...Christianity begins to shift its sheltered reputation when Christ's followers are engaged, informed, and on the leading edge, offering a sophisticated response to the issues people face. ~Intellectuals~ ~The Overlooked ~ ~Loners~ ~Self-injurers~ ~Fatherless~
If we are going to engage this generation, we have to put aside sheltered lifestyles and perspectives and help them deal with life as it is. Without relenting our passion for purity and integrity, we have to come out of our cocoon and respond to the needs and confessions of a generation that needs our help.
From “unChristian
by Dave Kinnaman and Gabe Lyons
Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2007