I think this will be my last post on Crazy For God. Fantastic book that I will forever keep as a reference. If nothing else, it has validated much of what my experience has been.
On pages 331-332, Frank Schaeffer talks about how Christians, specifically evangelical Christians, have become about excluding themselves from the world, not including themselves in it:
“…by the 1970’s the evangelicals as a whole had come up with an alternate ‘gated’ America: ‘Christian’ education, radio, rock, makeup, publishing, schools, home-schools, weight loss, sex manuals, and politics. It wasn’t about being something but about not being secular, about not having nudity, sex, or four-letter words. What it was for, no one knew.
What was so strange was how evangelicals learned to use all those worldly tools that their fundamentalist grandparents stood against and that, as a child, I was forbidden from even knowing about. They were now using rock, TV, and movies to construct an alternate reality. But they were using these ‘worldly tools’ in a way that was odd: it was not to involve themselves with their culture and learn from it, but to hide from other Americans and create private space.”
I lived in this world for a long time, excluding myself, avoiding all that stuff that was “sinful.” And it’s not that I am living in “sin” now. But when your focus is on avoiding all the time, then it becomes difficult for you to do. Difficult for you to go out and help someone. Difficult to be about justice and social justice. Difficult to be about interacting with our culture in a constructive way. Difficult to establish relationships outside of the false purity of church. I have friends (used to be good friends but now are just at the margins of friendships as they have essentially disowned us for leaving our former fundamentalist church) who have their kids in Christian school, have a DVD player that screens out bad stuff from regular secular movies, etc, and what does it teach their kids? It teaches them to avoid the world. I would rather teach my boys to be responsible in the world. To teach them that this is the world that God made and that it is an awesome place and not to be afraid of it and that there is a great deal of truth to learn about God from all over it. Everything and everyone holds a little bit of truth that if you are willing to look hard enough, you will find (kind of reminds me of some of the words of Jesus). I think we need to work to be more inclusive and less exclusive. That is what will make this world a better place.