Do we want to be taken seriously? Do we want to overcome misconceptions about our faith and practice? Do we hope to ever fulfill our mission and make an impact on our culture? Then here (in no particular order) are a few things I believe we must do:
- Refuse to let public lies (false teachings) stand publically unopposed. When someone lies publically, someone needs to publically expose and oppose that lie and tell the truth no matter what it costs. That is part of our job as the called-out of Christ.
- Refuse to be lulled into the toleration and acceptance of immorality. Think about what we tolerate which would never have been accepted twenty years ago. If it was truly wrong then, it is truly wrong today. If it was ever a sin, it is a sin now.
- Ignore those who equate Christianity with established religious groups…no matter how ancient. Foolish and ignorant critics will blame Christ-followers for the excesses of those who, over the centuries, falsely labeled themselves “Christians.” True followers of Christ were never involved in the exploitation, suppression, torture and/or death of any person or group.
- Rise above the prevailing gloom and hopelessness of today’s culture. We enjoy and offer the world a way of hope, abundant life, joy (not the same as “happiness”) and an eternal end of suffering. We are “light-bringers.”
- Renounce materialism and greed. We must recognize the love of money and “stuff” for what it is – the source of evil. Christians must learn to be content with what is needed for life. Food, clothing, shelter, healthcare and transportation are all we need. The overflow needs to be shared.
- Combine good deeds with good news in holy symbiosis. One without the other will not accomplish our mission. Very few will be persuaded by a failure to combine these initiatives. This is what Jesus did…this is what we must do.
- Renounce citizenship of a country in favor of citizenship in God’s kingdom. Jesus’s kingdom is not of this world. Political parties and their candidates have serious flaws and faults; the Kingdom is perfect and flawless. We are not mere Americans, Germans, Poles, Russians, Australians, etc. We are citizens of a nation with no boundaries, no racial, linguistic barriers. Thy kingdom come!
- Get out of our meeting places and into the streets. Quit expecting people to come to us and do what Jesus did: go to the people. Do good deeds! Proclaim Christ!
- Quit “going to church.” Restore the true purpose of assemblies. Assemblies are a means to an end, not an end. “Faithfulness” is far more than attendance. Assemblies are for edification and encouragement. If they fail in that regard, they are useless.
- Think and act as the counter-culture we were meant to be.
“The saving of our world from pending doom will come, not through the complacent adjustment of the conforming majority, but through the creative maladjustment of a nonconforming minority.” (Martin Luther King Jr.)