Sunday, April 25, 2010

I'm Only Going to Use Christian Electricity

I understand how it all started. We wanted to support our fellow Christians, so we decided to use symbols like the fish (Ichthus) or the cross to identify Christian business men and women. We wanted to make sure our money was used for the kingdom of God. Now, as a church history buff, I love the Ichthus and how it originated. And the cross: wow, any comment would be an understatement. But how far do we take this?

Like I said, I get the logic. If I use the services of the Christian plumber, then I'm helping my brother-in-the-Lord; then he'll be able to give a bigger tithe or offering in his church; who will send more money to the missionary; and so on (at least in theory). It is a great idea, and I hope that type of cycle happens. I'm just afraid that it leads to a mentality of exclusivity.

Is Christianity a club? Is it an exclusive group that you have to be invited into, by one of it's members, of course, then you get to share in the perks of the membership? And if you know the secret handshake, you get the special business deal. If that's the case, we're basically a variation of the Masons, or the Moose Lodge, or Elks. It's the club mentality that turns many people off. They don't want to join our club of Christianity because they don't want to go through the hazing process.

A wonderful Christian man named Keith Wheeler put it this way, "we should be insulated from the world, not isolated". I love that. So well put. When we as Christians separate ourselves from "the world" so we don't get tainted by evil and sin, we are actually isolating ourselves. That's not what Jesus taught us to do. Of course we are supposed to live Godly lives; and we should be different because of our walk with Christ. But we should stand out as being different because of our love, not because of our condescending snootiness. Remember when Jesus was eating dinner with the sinners, and the Pharisees gasped in horror? By eating with them, Jesus wasn't loosening up his holiness and saying to himself, "ah, what the hell, I might as well have fun while I'm down here". No, the Bible is very clear: Jesus lived a perfect, sinless life. So he was still holy, yet he did not shy away from sinful people (which was everyone). Insulated, not isolated.

You're not going to be able to buy products that only put money into Christian pockets. Probably 95% percent of everything you own or could own is putting money into the hands of selfish, greedy, evil, non-Christian, un-Christian, and anti-Christian people. But this isn't just about not shopping only from the Christian phone book. Far worse is when you separate yourSELF. If you are a sincere believer, then you have something to contribute to the world. But if you isolate yourself, then no one benefits. The world misses out on your influence, and you miss out on the amazing ways that everyone, good and bad, adds a dash of improvement to your life.

Many of the topics I've touched on could be expanded into their own book. But I hope you get the basic idea here. Go out into the world. Rub elbows with the world, hug it, let it get you dirty. Your mandate as a Christian is to stay clean on the inside. So it doesn't matter if you get some mud on the outside. That just means you're working. And don't worry about where your money goes. I look at it this way: when my secular, worldly company gives me a paycheck, I use THEIR money to spread the gospel of Jesus. So it goes both ways. And I don't think you can find Christian electricity.