Being Relevant in a Needy World…
…rather than “above” it
Can I rant a minute? Sometimes it just bugs me that some of us as Christians get so easily offended by the things of this world. It’s like we forget that we’re citizens of a different realm than the one we’re currently living in. We keep expecting this dark and needy world—and those trapped here – to be like heaven and we get offended when it’s not.
I recently learned that Lifeway stores have pulled the movie The Blind Side off its shelves, after a campaign against it by some folks in the Christian community. Personally, I was thrilled that a mainstream, Oscar-winning movie starring one of my favorite actors (Sandra Bullock), depicted Christians so positively, showing us (for once) as truly caring for “the widows and orphans” in the way that so many Christian families do indeed do.
Yep, there was profanity and darkness shown – it’s the real world that the needy young man, Michael, needed to be rescued from. But while I strongly believe we need to be wise about what we watch and promote, and some folks will understandably choose not to watch a movie with any profanity, why does the existence of the profanity erase the glorious message and existence of a movie that shows Christians truly being salt and light as God asks us to be?
Eric Metaxas’ article points out, rightly, that when we “protest” everything, we convey the message that there is no pleasing the Christian community. That we’ll be taken as people who simply always have to be mad about something. We seem sniffy and uptight and completely irrelevant instead of as those who fully live in this world – but are seen as bringers of His light within it.
Over the last few weeks, I have loved watching the reality show Out of the Wild on Netflix with my family. And I loved that on Out of the Wild: Venezuela they featured a strong Christian man, Sam, as one of the folks who was trying to survive the rigors of the wild as a team. I particularly loved that the producers showed Sam repeatedly losing his temper with one of the more “difficult” team members – and then (after a particularly bad incident) gathering the group together and apologizing and asking for forgiveness. When Sam left for health reasons, the difficult (atheist) team member said something like “You’re the best Christian I’ve ever known.”
Why was that so impactful? Because Sam was imperfect and sinful and made mistakes like all of us do – yes, I think I even heard a few of his choice words “bleeped out” when he cut his hand – but it was clear he also was always trying to honor God in the midst of difficult circumstances. Should we turn up our nose at that? Or should we recognize that we all are sinful and do many things that are imperfect, every day?
I want to encourage Hollywood to make great movies and shows. As an author, I want as much God-honoring content on shelves as possible. But I think it ultimately honors God more when we acknowledge that the whole reason we need Jesus is that none of us are perfect. And it is when we are clear about that, that we have much more ability to reach out to and create a true connection with those who don’t yet realize that this world is not our home.
How can you be salt and light today?
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