Ever since our fall into sin in Genesis 3, the effects have permeated everything and broken everything — bodies, hearts, minds. One of the effects on the mind is that there is a skewed understanding of what Christianity is about.
To some degree, our understanding is re-invented every generation; the effects of sin don’t change, but culture and sin’s pressure points do change. We are often fighting off accusations of being violent, or extremist, or close-minded. In order to address this image-problem, we can be proactive in avoiding those stereotypes when we interact with others. Sociologist and scholar Christian Smith, who wrote Lost in Translation, suggests that we can do this by being:
1. Convicted, but charitable, capable of good and constructive arguments.
2. Committed, but interested in reasonable, rigorous, fun conversations.
3. Serious, but not rigid or reactionary.
4. Evangelistic, but interested in other people not just as souls to save but as real people to learn from, as gifts for us to receive.
5. Caring about the right ideas, about truth, but interested in reciprocity.
6. Critical of the world, yet appreciative of the good in it as God’s good creation.
The 20s Mission is working to disciple and support young adults Christians as we articulate our Christian identity in the midst of many cultural changes.
If you’re in the Chicago area, come to one of our monthly events, where you can hear from other professionals and Christian leaders and discuss what it means to be a Christian in your environment.
When I was in college, I decided to do something different than many of my friends and not major in theology or ministry. I sensed that some of them were focusing on Biblical studies or ministry simply because they thought it was a higher profession, or that it was rewarding to study. A ministry vocation would be more likely to ensure that one is a faithful Christian, many of us assumed.
(Of course, this idea is present among Christian colleges, while some people in secular colleges tend to view vocational ministry as “not a real job.” That is equally problematic, because the Bible teaches that ministry is a necessary job worthy of support from the church in 2 Cor. 11:7-8).
While I too felt that I was growing in my faith while studying theology, I also didn’t believe that I was called to vocational ministry. And while staying strong in your faith takes effort, the Bible teaches that Christians are called to participate by working in many vocations, not just ministry.
In a recent Relevant Magazine article by KC McGinnis noticed the same problem. Here is how he describes our responsibility to participate in many vocations:
Because all honest work displays the image of God and demonstrates His care, it is valuable even before a single co-worker comes to faith, even before a single cent is given to charity. This view of work breaks down the distinction between the ministry and the marketplace. Both become part of a larger category: God’s work.
God designed us to work, and even allows us to make work something that doesn’t sound so boring as “work” — it can be a source of joy and fulfillment as we join him in the creative and productive process. It’s also helpful to acknowledge that our job is not our whole life, and that we have obligations to our fellow Christians, friends and to ourselves.
It’s also helpful to acknowledge that our job is not our whole life, and that we have obligations to our fellow Christians, friends and to ourselves. If work is the only thing we think about day and night, that is equally a problem of balancing our priorities.
The bottom line is that God’s desire is for us to be fulfilled in finding peace with Him, with each other, and with the gifts that he gives each of us.
Which is a bigger challenge for you? Is it harder to find joy in your work, or is it harder to get away from work and enjoy other parts of life?