Saturday, June 19, 2010

The Separation of My Generation

Disclaimer: This post will most likely offend someone on both sides. I'm not too concerned with that. Nor am i going to say, "This is a tough post to write," because to be honest, i enjoy writing. I wouldn't do it if I didn't enjoy it. So, if you're offended, i apologize in advance, but thats why this is my blog :) and like it says, no one said you have to read it.

Today, we talk a lot about separation. Actually, we are talked TO a lot about separation. I've heard that the problem with our generation is our failure to separate. We don't know how to separate. I'm not so sure that's the case. I'm fairly confident we're pretty good at separating. It's a matter of who we are separating from. Our focus is no longer separating from the world. That's not to say we don't; it's just not the big thing to us. Which is a problem in and of itself. We're separating from a whole other group entirely. We're separating from the Fundamentalists. The name is kind of a shame to be honest because most of us aren't separating from the fundamentals. I really wish the name was more like the "Standard"ists or the "Bibles-so-big-that-carrying-them-gives-you-something-like-tennis-elbow"ists or, my person favorite, Tradtionalists. I'm not saying there is anything wrong with standards, big bibles or tradition. I have all of the above. I'm just saying that Fundamentalist is a poor name for the group thats being separated from.

Why are we separating? You really want to know? Because as a whole, Fundamentalists are weird. There's coulottes and combovers, people who talk in thees and thous, and those people who stand on street corners yelling at the people walking by that they're going to burn in hell. I know, I know this is where you throw the verse at me that says we're to be a peculiar people. And then i tell you that i looked up "peculiar" in the 1828 Webster's dictionary, and tell you that peculiar doesn't necessarily mean "weird." It means "One's own; belonging solely or especially to the individual." (Which really makes the whole verse just jump out at me more.) So many of the standards that are held to so tightly by Traditionalists were created in an era when they were culturally unacceptable. They were created to separate from the world. I'm not saying our convictions should change, but that doesn't mean our standards can't. Before I'm misunderstood, here's an example, I used to go to a conservative Christian college where girls weren't allowed to wear pants. I then transferred to another conservative school where girls are allowed to wear pants. Does that mean I took a spiritual step down because my new school lets girls wear something that 60 years ago were culturally unacceptable? Not at all. So to be truthful some of you are holding to traditions (that make no sense) so tightly that you are forgetting that the God of love, mercy, and forgiveness who commanded our separation. No one wants a God of law who doesn't show love.

Now to those of you who are chuckling and just nodding your head. It's our turn. What has our desire become? Is your desire really to show the world the love of your holy God? Or is it to not be weird? Or maybe, your separation really is so you can do whatever you want? "But God is LOVE, so what we do isn't important, and doesn't the Bible say we're all sinners anyway? Why fight it?" I don't think most Christians of my generation start out thinking "the world and sin looks like SO MUCH FUN, so im going to take the throw everything out the window. I know God loves me, but I really don't care about that." I'm not saying there aren't people like that. I've known my share, but I've also known my share of strong Christians who have fallen. I've even seen the slow slip in my own life. I started searching for "what i really believe." Which is also a pretty terrible name because we should be searching for "what is the truth" (For example on this, a child is learning his colors...his father, to be funny, teaches him that the red crayon is called blue...The child believes it, but that belief doesn't change the color of the crayon.) Anyway, i started this search, and there were a few things i didn't agree with. Then, I started to separate from the "Traditionalist camp." That's when i noticed it. I noticed the convictions i had that were slipping. Little things that were ok now, that weren't ok before. Verses i was overlooking in the Bible just because i was pretty sure the interpretation wasn't quite what they were saying it was (w/o studying at all)...I started focusing more on myself than God. How God could serve me. I started focusing on the love, mercy, forgiveness, grace because those are what God gives me. I focused less on the holiness, justice, judgement because those are what I had to do. Worship and praise even slipped...Not that i wasn't "worshipping." But the focus of my "worship" time wasn't God. It was how i felt. It wasn't the love I had from and for God spilling out. It wasn't my awe of Him. Is your separation really for God? Is it from the darkness that we're supposed to have no fellowship with? Or is it just from people that we don't really "like?" Are you solely and entirely God's? God's love without His holiness would just be cheap.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Lesson I learned from Justin Bieber

Ok, so i have NEVER heard a Justin Bieber song in my life, but i have seen children's reactions to him. I worked in a classroom where a girl wrote I HEART Justin Bieber on the top of EVERY paper. Rachel showed us a video (copy &paste to your browser over spring break of how much a little 3 year old loved this guy...errr...kid. I still didn't really think it was all that widespread of an epidemic until my amazingly awesome and incredible friends kidnapped me and took me to Chuck E Cheese for my birthday. We were sitting there eating our pizza and getting ready to go dominate in skee ball, so we could win lots of tickets, when Justin Bieber appeared on the television screens. There had been a girl about 6 or 7 years old who had been acting a little crazy near the stage, but this is when she got loud. She started screaming at the top of her lungs "JUSTIN BIEBER!! IT'S JUSTIN BIEBER!!!!!!" This went on for about...well the entire time he was visible on the screen (so even with a song playing over the speakers, I've still never heard one of his songs).

So what is it about these kids that makes them go nuts? It's worship. It's praise. They are worshipping and praising this new adolescent pop star. Right now im reading Desiring God by John Piper. AMAZING book so far (im a chapter in), but the first chapter is on how God's sovereignty allows us to have peace, happiness, and joy in Him. We aren't going to come to our Father and find Him in a mood that makes us want to escape His gloom or avoid Him. If we're avoiding God it's not because He is unstable, but because we are sinners. (sry that all has NOTHING to do with this post). The second thing He talks about it how by adoring, desiring, and loving our God, we best glorify Him, and that is shown through our praise. We are constantly praising something. Whether it's the Lakers for their big win tonight, our abilities in academics or sports, or our boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, wife, or kids. We aren't constantly praising. You may say you don't, but think about what you say. "The Lakers are awesome!" "I have the most AMAZING (husband, wife, girlfriend, boyfriend, plumber, exterminator) on the planet!" There is another thing that Piper points out...when we're praising, we want people to agree with us. We want to share the beauty of our adoration. How often do we say "Look at this!" "Did you see how incredible that was?!"

So why aren't we like that with God? Because its not on the inside. All that praise for those other things. It just spills out. It's not a conscious effort. It's not our duty. I'm not trying to cheapen God by comparing Him to Justin Bieber, but why are we exalting all these things in our own lives to His place? Pastor said last night that praise looks good on Christians. The Bible says in Psalm 33:1 (ESV) "Shout for joy in the Lord, O you righteous! Praise befits the upright." So two questions, "Are you putting on praise today?" and "If you put on praise, does it match the rest of your wardrobe (or would someone look at you like a 40 year old man praising Justin Bieber? cuz thats just unnatural)?"