Won’t get fooled again

I’m learning that one of the jobs of an effective blogger is to point my readers to good material that others are producing.  Accordingly, I would like to direct you to a very thought-provoking post by Alan Knox, entitled Won’t Get Fooled Again.  Here is an excerpt:

Once upon a time, God used pagan prophets and philosophers. How foolish! Not today. Nothing good can come from culture. Today, God wants his people to read Christian books, watch Christian movies, and listen to Christian music. If God has something to say, he would never be so foolish as to speak through a pagan.

Once upon a time, God ate with prostitutes, drunks, thieves, and other malcontents. How foolish! Not today. God has enough good people now that he doesn’t need to hang out with that sort anymore. It would be foolish for God to be found among the dregs of society today.

I don’t want to take away from Alan’s blog traffic, so that’s all I’m going to give you here.  But if you have read this far, I strongly encourage you to take a couple of minutes to click over to his site and read the entire post.

4 thoughts on “Won’t get fooled again

  1. chris Post author

    Good question…What I DON’T think he’s advocating is using donkeys as a primary means of transportation. What I DO think he is doing is drawing a contrast between some of our common thought patterns in the church today, as opposed to practices in the early church in the New Testament. We tend to rely heavily on such things as church buildings and seminary-trained clergy, and those aren’t all bad, but it seems we have almost forgotten how to be the Church without them. Also, sadly, we don’t always do a good job of engaging our culture and mingling with “sinners” closely enough to be able to reach them with the gospel. In his book Organic Church, Neil Cole said something to the effect of, “If we want to reach the lost, we’re going to have to sit in the smoking section.” Regarding engaging culture, that has actually become more clear to me on the foreign mission field. I have seen how important it is for us to engage the culture we’re trying to reach here, and now I think about being the in the U.S. and how if I were back there I would want to do a better job of engaging the culture than I did before, rather than trying to stay in my Christian subculture bubble.

    So I think what he is advocating is a simple, New Testament type of Christianity. By the way, some off-the-record feedback I got on this post indicated that some people may have missed the sarcastic tone of his post. So note the sarcasm and realize that he is not calling God and the Bible foolish! He’s bringing out the fact that following Christ is often foolishness to the world.

    Thanks for taking the time to comment!

  2. Aaron Brown

    You know me, so you know I caught the sarcasm.

    I absolutely agree with you both on interpretation of Alan’s entry and on needing to engage culture more actively. My pastor back home, Dr. James Murphy, always tells our congregation that bringing non-Christians into the church is like asking fish to jump into the barrel. In other words, the odds are low and it’s the opposite of the model Jesus lived.

    At the same time, it makes me wonder about all those leading our current US Christian subculture–the Christian music artists, authors, directors, and parents longing for their childrens’ “safe” development. I guess I have a hard time seeing them as culprits though. I’m sure in most cases they’ve spent a lot of time praying over their efforts, listening to God’s will for their lives, and living it.

    I wonder how their production of the goods we use to create our Christian subculture integrate with how we are supposed to take God’s love to the world? Maybe it’s as simple as us getting too comfortable living in ways we’re familiar with, and then using our subculture as our only culture instead of using it only as a place of recharging and encouragement?

  3. chris Post author

    I like your pastor’s analogy. You raise some really could questions about culture and our involvement in it. I’ve thought about a lot of these things, and I don’t have a lot of good answers right now. I do know that I have been impacted to realize how much strategies we apply here in Mexico could apply to life back home. Down here, people are turned off to a lot of the typical elements of Christian culture. Christians are often perceived as arrogant, judgmental, legalistic, and condemning of a lot of what is around them. People don’t feel like Christians love them, they just feel like they want to be separate and reject all their customs.

    Because of this, we have worked hard to break the mold of how Christians are typically perceived here by not buying in to a lot of the typical Christian subculture. We try to engage the culture at large as much as possible, rather than be separate from it. So far, this seems to be yielding positive results.

    It has gotten me thinking a lot about Christian life in North America. Maybe we could take greater care to avoid the typical negative perceptions of Christians. Reading your comment, I think of examples like the popular Christian radio station that confidently asserts it is “safe for the whole family”. It seems that this kind of thinking promotes a fortress mentality of Christianity that isn’t at all what God had in mind for His kingdom. Jesus said that the gates of Hades would not prevail against His Church, and last time a checked, gates were a defensive weapon, not an offensive weapon. If we Christians are holed up in a culturally fortress, that seems to make it difficult to prevail against the gates of Hades.

    Thanks for the interaction, Aaron, I enjoy it!

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