"I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians.
Your Christians are so unlike your Christ."
As an occasional substitute teacher in our English language school, I've been thinking about prepositions lately.
And I think as Christians, we often get our prepositions mixed up.
When talking about our salvation, many believers often talk about what they've been saved from. It's dangerous, really, to think about our salvation with that type of passivity. If you've only been saved from something, it implies that life can go on however you wish. You can pursue your own goals and dreams, resting assured that you've been saved from eternal destruction, or whatever else you want to call the disaster you narrowly avoided.
I think this type of spiritual ambivalence and nonchalance is really at the core of why so many people don't really like Christians. As a whole, there isn't much that really sets us apart; we've been saved from our worst nightmare, so we go on about life with the smug assurance of someone who has outwitted a crisis. The fruit in our lives looks and tastes remarkably similar to what the general culture produces. Usually it seems that the only difference are our loud proclamations about our moral codes and concerns about things as trivial as Harry Potter. You hear phrases like "culture wars," and it seems we're known mostly for what we're against in our broader culture. It's another preposition problem.
There are better prepositions we could be using.
We shouldn't be talking about what we've been saved from... we should be concerned with what we're saved for.
We shouldn't be known for what we're against... we should be known for what we're for.
Christmas is approaching, and we're celebrating in a country that doesn't acknowledge it. Because it isn't a cultural holiday here, its stripped of all the trappings of the holiday back at home. Part of me misses the festivity and the carols and the decorations and the gatherings. But part of me realizes that in this place, I might have a better chance of understanding the true meaning of the Incarnation more deeply than ever before.
So, for the next few weeks, I'm going to focus my writings on what the Incarnation means to me. I want to delve deeper into these preposition problems, and talk about some other issues as well. I'd love for this to be a dialog; to have an opportunity to hear what it means to you as well. I'm sure we can challenge each other to go deeper into this beautiful mystery of Emmanuel, God with us.
This faith thing is a journey... let's start walking.