Do you ever feel uncomfortable being a Christian where you live, work, or play? I’ve just finished Ian Morgan Cron’s book, Chasing Francis.* In it, the main character observes:
“Once you’ve been outed as a conservative Christian, [people] assume you’re a right-wing, self-satisfied fundamentalist with all the mental acuity of a houseplant.”
I’ve felt this way sometimes. It tempts me to hide.
1. To hide in the culture. To try not to look or sound churchy in any way, try to be relevant, to use the name Jesus sparingly, and get behind only those causes that are culture-friendly.
2. To hide from the culture. To retreat inside the church, find all the community I need there, say Jesus’ name without shame, listen/read/open up to only those who think like I do, and take a clear stand against things “of the world.”
I know I’m not alone. A lot of Christians hide in one or both of these ways.
I’m comforted to remember that Jesus was tempted by these, too. But reading through the gospels, it’s clear he didn’t ever hide himself out of fear. He didn’t seem afraid. Of anyone.
One moment, he’d walk into a gathering of religious leaders and talk Torah with the best of them. An hour later, he’d join the party down the street and have dinner and drinks with the greedy, sexually loose, and those who liked to beer too much.
I love this man. He was so comfortable in his own skin. He knew who he was, whose he was, and how loved he was. And he gave so sacrificially to others. Not because he needed them to like him, but because he loved them.
I want to live like that.
I only know one way: with the one who gave himself for me, for you, and for every person I have the privilege of coming into contact with today.
So whether we’re prone to hiding in or hiding from the world around us, let’s practice keeping our ears, eyes, and hearts open to where Jesus is, and go with him.
No doubt, we’ll experience discomfort, and also friendship, mistakes, miracles, ridicule, laughter, sorrow, and joy along the way. But let’s do it.
He isn’t hiding.
Question: Are you more prone toward hiding in the culture or toward hiding from the culture? What’s one thing you can do to let Jesus’ love move you from your comfort zone?
*Chasing Francis is about much more than this. I think you’ll like it.