On my way home last night, I was listening to AM talk radio program. I can't recall which show it was, however, the topic of religion was brought up in conversation. After a caller had finished giving his comments, the talk show host recited a simple quote that he had read recently. The quote went something like this…
“A well balanced Christian Life will be one where you seem to be too pagan to your Christian friends and you seem to be too Christian to your pagan friends.”
WOW! That is an awesome statement! As I grow closer to Christ, He is exploding myths and misconceptions about what it means for me to have a relationship with Him. Breaking free from my legalistic tendencies and breaking free from the Performance Trap seems to be the theme that God keeps coming back to. As I've been studying God's Word and reading a number of books that provoke a great deal of thought regarding the teachings of Christ, I've come to have a very different view on subjects such as prayer, “going to church,” “reading my Bible,” and simply how I “do ministry.” I wont go into the details.
In many ways, the I have been guilty of making “Christianity” into a “religion” where we I believe we must live according to a list of rules and laws much like the Pharasees and Religious leaders did when Jesus walked the Earth. Just thinking back upon the teachings of Jesus, I'm reminded how at every turn, the religious leaders of the day felt that Jesus was too pagan and that he broke too many of their rules to be a truly “religious” man. And of course, there were those like the Rich Young Man who simply thought Jesus was “too heavy” on his stance of living according to faith. In a real sense, Jesus was too pagan for His religious contemporaries and He was too religous for many who did not understand his teachings.
I'm not certain, but I believe I found the book from which this quote was made from. The book is titled “Too Christian, Too Pagen” by Dick Staub. Now, I've never read this book and so I don't much about the content of this book. However, on the author's site, there is a description of the book that I found interesting…
“Should Christians be engaged in, or disengaged from, their world? This is the prevailing question that Staub, president of the Center for Faith and Culture, asks Christians who are commanded by Jesus Christ to participate fully in the world without falling for its subtle, yet destructive charms. Staub insists that modern-day Christians frequently resist partaking in the culture around them because they are “too Christian” or fear being labeled “too pagan” by other followers of Christ. This attitude, Staub claims, rejects Christ's edict to go into the world and share the Christian message. Masterfully told, Staub's 25 readings weave biblical principles of loving others as oneself from within the confines of workplace, school, neighborhood and family. Staub challenges Christians to fearlessly enter their world of influence and meet those of different beliefs at a place of common understanding. Specifically, Staub encourages readers to go to the movies, read current literature, listen to the latest music craze, attend a co-worker's party, check out a neighbor's interests and then discerningly look for the theological truth within each form of communication so as to converse intelligently and with caring grace. With deepening intensity, Staub's storytelling skill builds chapter by chapter until the dubious labels of either “too Christian” or “too pagan” are cast off in favor of a reckless love for a hurting world.”
Sounds like a new book is going on my Book Wish List.