Living in a post-Christian age

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“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair…, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way…”
– Charles Dickens

Here’s one thing that is good about this crazy election and the outrageous things we are finding out daily about our new President-elect, speaking of crazy. I think we can safely say we live in a post-Christian country. (I was about to write post-Christian world, but I understand that the church in Africa would put us to shame, and I’m sure there are other places on the planet where Christianity is doing so well, they should send missionaries here.) Here in America, you would have to call this a post-Christian era.

It’s a different reality now. Billy Graham’s already been through town, and Christians have already had their “15 minutes” of allotted fame. Now it’s time to get down to living in our neighborhoods with Christ in our hearts, rather than on our bumpers, caps and T-shirts.

Drop “Christian” entirely as an adjective. Resist the temptation to use it as one because the implications that now go along with the adjective “Christian” are entirely wrong. They will steer someone way off track. Christian art, Christian music, Christian television, and Christian coffeehouses are all a thing of the past. Now there is just art, music, television and coffeehouses. This is great news, actually. Now we have to live like Christians, not just wear and consume Christian stuff or hang out in Christian environments. And in order to live like Christians we need to find out what that is. What does it consist of? What does it look like? Welcome to the Catch. That’s what we are all about doing here. (We will start by saying it looks like Grace Turned Outward.)

Remember the guy who wanted to reach his community for Christ by starting a Christian coffeehouse until he realized his neighborhood already had a coffeehouse and maybe he should just go there? That’s what we’re talking about.

Start getting on boards and committees to fix things, and start volunteering in your communities. Start meeting over coffee, or what have you, and getting to know your neighbors at whatever coffeehouse, restaurant or bar they go to. Start making and building relationships with non-Christians. The work is going to be done in the trenches, and labels don’t mean anything anymore (if they ever did). This is the best news ever! This is the worst of times; this is the best of times.

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4 Responses to Living in a post-Christian age

  1. Mark Seguin says:

    Luv the last paragraph! Let me plz add and don’t tell anyone they’re wrong! No matter what they believe, becauz if you think about it, when someone tells you, your wrong – all u do is defend your position and don’t listen!

  2. Sandie says:

    My advice for most believers – including me – is this: When I think I have something to say, raise my hand and put it over my mouth! We need to listen, listen, LISTEN! We need to earn the right to speak! How can we convince anyone we want to spend eternity with them, if we can’t take the time to just hang out with them…no other purpose than that…just hanging out, and maybe making a good friend!? Maybe even learning something; laying foundations to build on. When I was a new believer I was so intent on ‘shoving the dove’ I didn’t realize I was literally choking them to death! I half-kiddingly swear that some of those poor souls prayed the sinner’s prayer just so I would shut up! Thank God that version of me picked up some common-sense along the way; in large part because of your early books John. I’ve stopped trying to do the Holy Spirit’s job and have learned to be content with ‘living the truth’ instead of just speaking it – a much harder goal because it involves relationships and all they entail…the good, the bad and the ugly.

  3. “I see a beautiful city and a brilliant people rising from this abyss, and, in their struggles to be truly free, in their triumphs and defeats, through long years to come, I see the evil of this time and of the previous time of which this is the natural birth, gradually making expiation for itself and wearing out.

    “I see the lives for which I lay down my life, peaceful, useful, prosperous and happy, in that England which I shall see no more. I see Her with a child upon her bosom, who bears my name. I see her father, aged and bent, but otherwise restored, and faithful to all men in his healing office, and at peace. I see the good old man, so long their friend, in ten years’ time enriching them with all he has, and passing tranquilly to his reward.

    “I see that I hold a sanctuary in their hearts, and in the hearts of their descendants, generations hence. I see her, an old woman, weeping for me on the anniversary of this day. I see her and her
    husband, their course done, lying side by side in their last earthly bed, and I know that each was not more honoured and held sacred in the other’s soul, than I was in the souls of both.

    “I see that child who lay upon her bosom and who bore my name, a man winning his way up in that path of life which once was mine. I see him winning it so well, that my name is made illustrious there by the light of his. I see the blots I threw upon it, faded away. I see him, fore-most of just judges and honoured men, bringing a boy of my name, with a forehead that I know and golden hair, to this place– then fair to look upon, with not a trace of this day’s disfigurement — and I hear him tell the child my story, with a tender and a faltering voice.

    “It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done;
    it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known.”

    ~ Sydney Carton – “A Tale of Two Cities” (Charles Dickens)

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