Friday, November 04, 2005

Yancey Delivers Again

In his latest essay in Christianity Today, Philip Yancey observes how the external perception of evangelical Christianity has become so warped in today's culture. One friend of Yancey's says, "They're motivated by hate—sheer hate!" A trio of gay Christian acquaintances state bluntly that "It's obvious the country doesn't want us, and I believe most evangelicals would like to see us exterminated."

Of course Yancey dismisses these statements as hyperbolic, and so do I. But it's worth reflecting on what we have done to generate that kind of fear on the part of the unchurched. Money quote:
I thought, too, how tempting it can be—and how distracting from our primary mission—to devote so many efforts to rehabilitating society at large, especially when these efforts demonize the opposition. (After all, neither Jesus nor Paul showed much concern about cleaning up the degenerate Roman Empire.) As history has proven, especially in times when church and state closely mingle, it is possible for the church to gain a nation and in the process lose the kingdom.
Gain a nation and in the process lose the kingdom? Like I said, if you're not reading Yancey you should be.

22 Comments:

At 11:07 AM, Blogger ninjanun said...

Aaaagh! Now why'd you have to go and post Yancey's picture?! Is this some sort of pictoral penance for the recent lust-o-rama we all revelled in on your last post? ;p

I think Yancey hit the nail on the head. I don't know how many times I've had to explain to unbelievers about the archaic practice of Baptists not dancing or drinking. It's pretty sad when it seems to all the unbelievers I've talked with that Christians are more about what NOT to do, and they actually have no clue what it means to actually follow Jesus. I'm doing more "damage control" about the church's more legalistic tendencies, and have to wade through that mire before I can begin to share the love of Christ. In my personal experience, unbelievers have a pretty good idea of what we're NOT about, but no clue about what we ARE about (love, anyone?).

 
At 11:09 AM, Blogger ninjanun said...

Oh, and I'm not dissin' Yancey's looks, yo. I'm just making the point that he is in no way an object of lust for me. I mean, I really don't fancy men who look like Beaker (from the Muppets) with a blonde 'fro.

 
At 11:12 AM, Blogger Zeke said...

There you go objectifying men again, Nun. I really expected better from you.

As penance, you must now go pose in a red bikini and post it on your blog.

And Mrs. Zeke, if you read this, I'm just keeping her honest. Honest.

 
At 11:12 AM, Blogger dorsey said...

"A person must court a virgin differently than a divorcée, said Lewis. One welcomes the charming words; the other needs a demonstration of love to overcome inbuilt skepticism."

What describes the culture outside of church better than that? It seems like there's so much people have to unlearn, that the task of communicating the Truth through all those perceptions is daunting.

 
At 11:14 AM, Blogger ninjanun said...

Yeah, I'll get right to work on that. I'm sure I could find a picture of Angelina Jolie or somebody in a red bikini, and photoshop my head onto her body. :)

 
At 11:19 AM, Blogger Zeke said...

Oh, Jeff from Demerging already has one for you to use.

This is about you mortifying your flesh, Nun. Not about indulging your regular readers who want to see you in a red bikini.

Right, Dorse? Help me out here, bro...

 
At 11:33 AM, Blogger Hill said...

This is such a disheartinging truth. It brings to mind the cliche' "Love the sinner, Hate the sin". The modern day evangelicals preach have preached this for so long; but as Ken Collins stated, "[it's] one of Satan's flawed scriptural allusions, to get us one step closer to hating sinners, so that we will chase off as unworthy the very people people we were sent to save."

The concept is never stated in scripture (to my knowledge) and our restrictions of being human play a huge part in this as well. We cannot love and hate simultaneously. I can dislike your shoes, and still like you. BUT only because your shoes don't matter to me. Should it not be this way with sinners. There sin shouldn't matter to us, its not our place to sort them out. To make a play on Erik's joke.."kill them all and let God sort them out"...How about we "Love 'em all and let God deal with their sin". God know's I'm probably worse than most of them. Now how do we get this as a practiced philosophy of modern Christianity. I don't know but like ninja stated..."damage control" and we know there's a whole crapload of it to control. It can be so depressing, trying to win the championship when half your starters are shaving points...

Thanks for pointing out the article zeke

 
At 11:33 AM, Blogger ninjanun said...

Huh?! I don't understand what you mean by "mortifying the flesh."

 
At 11:36 AM, Blogger ninjanun said...

Good point, hill. I would like to point out that Ghandi is the one who (to my knowledge) originally said, "love the sinner, hate the sin." But of course, he had a very different concept of what sin is...I think he was talking more about corporate sin than individual sin, which makes the outcome of his comment very different from how it's typically used in evangelical circles.

 
At 11:51 AM, Blogger Zeke said...

Wikipedia: Mortification of the flesh

 
At 12:14 PM, Blogger ninjanun said...

So...I'm still a little confused. You want me to pose in a red bikini as a way to mortify the flesh? Whose flesh, yours or mine?

Somebody's gonna be mortified. Maybe the Pete.

 
At 12:18 PM, Blogger Zeke said...

To mortify your own flesh, of course. Those body shape issues you have are just manifestations of your sin-ego, and by posing in a red bikini you pound your flesh into humble submission.

Or something like that.

 
At 1:05 PM, Blogger ninjanun said...

I think I would need to "pound my flesh into humble submission" at the gym before I'd wear a bikini!

 
At 1:18 PM, Blogger dorsey said...

Sort of like overcoming your fear of heights by climbing a mountain?

 
At 1:28 PM, Blogger ninjanun said...

...or overcoming your fear of being objectified, by being objectified?

 
At 2:30 PM, Blogger Zeke said...

...or overcoming your fear of being objectified, by being objectified?

Heeeyyy, somebody's catching on!

 
At 2:41 PM, Blogger ninjanun said...

isn't that a bit like saying I should overcome my fear of suicide by committing suicide?

 
At 2:43 PM, Blogger Zeke said...

If you commit suicide in your bikini, can we do open casket?

 
At 2:43 PM, Blogger Zeke said...

I slay myself sometimes.

 
At 2:49 PM, Blogger ninjanun said...

I'm not sure I like where you're headed, Zeke. I mean, this thread has been on a downward spiral since....well, the first post (I admit it). Here I was just trying to be funny, and now I have these weird suggestions that I commit suicide in a bikini. I think there's no more sure way I'd be going to hell than to
1)commit suicide
2)in a bikini, and
3)subject the saints and angels to an open casket

 
At 4:17 PM, Blogger Zeke said...

Yeah, I know. Sowwy.

 
At 5:44 PM, Blogger Ron said...

Zeke,

Very interesting post, and some lively thoughts as well. One thing I would like to mention is that each time we focus on the sin, it is merely a distraction for what we should be preaching. The Bible does not tell us to preach living holy, making yourself a better person, or any of those other opinionated recommendations. We are to preach Jesus, and that with compassion. It will be interesting to see what can happen if we all commit to truly following His command.

Also, I would like to invite you to stop by and let me know your thoughts on this issue of whether the Bible is for unbelievers. I have already seen some interesting responses, and am looking forward to reading yours as well.

 

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