Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Mulled Over Thoughts part 2...

As a continuation to my last post...

Christians tend to be surrounded by Christians. It's all part of the "You are what you eat theory"... or like my mom used to say, "You are who you pal around with..." by where she would verbally assault me letting me know how I needed to make good choices regarding friends and good decisions when with friends and the lethal statement that would leave me too afraid to get into trouble, "But no matter what, know that I TRUST YOU!" My mom was no fool Ya'll. (Did I just say Ya'll... what's up with that?)

I digress...

It seems that we, as people, tend to prefer to be around people of likeness. Same looks, same hobbies, same ages, same jobs, same schools, same sports, same- same- same- same. And yet, as Christians we're called to BE IN THIS WORLD. I suppose that means LEAVING our cozy habitats, tailored surroundings, and safe havens in the name of furthering His will.

What I'm wondering though, regarding this incredibly GRAY subject matter in the Bible, what actually constitutes "IN THIS WORLD"? What defines the activities or locations in which we chose to participate/attend?

Is it intention?

"Well, I don't drink but I'll go to a bar with a friend because I want to establish a friendship so I can have an opportunity at some point to share the truth and person of Christ with them?"

Is it strong will?

"Well, I can go to a bar with a friend because I'm not tempted by alcohol etc so I know I won't falter and be a bad example."

Is it the call of God?

"Well, the bar is not usually where I would be but feel the Lord has called me to go "into darkness" and "be light"..."

And so long as I have selected a bar for the example of the day- are we ever to simply NOT GO because a place such as that is not a reflection of who we are and is not the fruit that comes with growth and change in the Lord?

PLEASE allow me to pause here and clearly state that I am NOT at all judging those that frequent bars. It is clearly a personal decision everyone makes. Even when we don't consciously make a decision regarding things of this nature... we still make a decision... so I don't challenge people who like to go there for whatever reason... And please know that I am not saying that going to a bar is an out right indication of unholiness or anything of that nature.

I am actually just using it as one of the many things that I know people do and with which brings judgement and speculation. I bring it up because I want to know what any of you think regarding The Great Commission and whether going to a bar, or any number of other places by where there may be heavy drinking, drugs, swearing and or violence (things with which may not surround ourselves on a regular basis) for the sole purpose of creating (or maintaining) friendships by where the truth and person of Christ can then be shared.

Here's an example- having been saved only since late in my junior year of highschool... and riding the fence most of college with half Christian friends and half non-Christian friends... I found myself at the bars on Saturday night and in church Sunday morning. (Made for some festive weekends I'll tell you...) So- living the life I do now by where I haven't so much as walked into a bar in 10 years... what if an old college friend calls and wants to catch up at a bar at like 10pm??? What if that friend is still riding the fence or worse than that... never really believed?

Is this the "Be in the world but not of it part"? Or is this the, "You are who you pal around with part".....

I could argue BOTH sides. That's why I'm posting about it. I really want to know what people think.

Furthermore- I do realize there is no black and white. There is no right or wrong answer... it's clearly gray. But I do find myself wondering. Because, if all one person has ever known is bars and parties and "fun".... how do we as Christians put ourselves in any position with that person to be a friend- to have a relationship- a foundation for which the truth of God can be laid on fertile soil??


Mari said...

You are doing some deep thinking, my friend! I don't have an answer for you. I do think that this varies from person to person and what one person is able to do and be a witness, may not be right for another. I do appreciate your thoughts and will be considering where I should be to be witnessing!

Joanne said...

Ok, I am a fence rider too. It depends...

If the person has no other place to meet, then I would. But the whole thing falls under the relationship. That is what you are going to want to establish with any person who needs the Lord. Only then will they care to listen to what any of us have to say.

A bar wouldn't be my first choice of a hang out, but I would go. Jesus hung out with tax collectors. I am guessing where he was, was no picnic. He went with a purpose and so would I.

Love you girl! Joanne

Michele said...

Oh boy. Something similar came up in Sunday School recently. I believe that you could meet at another place in this case. It would be very hard to share in that atmosphere. We have to be SO CAREFUL! There is a song by Casting Crowns called "Slow Fade" (families don't fall apart in a day). I don't think you should go to those places for the purpose of witnessing but certainly pray for the opportunity in your every day life to make a difference in someone's life by sharing Christ. Having said that, we should NEVER judge someone or be legalistic about where they are in tea night of dancing last year for our anniversary and had a blast! In the past we would not have done that because we would have felt the atmosphere was not honoring Christ. We stumbled upon this place and decided to stay. Also, as I get older I am finding I would rather be around Christians that are REAL (maybe have a drink now and then) than Christians that act like they have it together but have no love about them. I don't know if this is making any sense. I totally believe we need to branch out, chill out, and go out into the world and preach the gospel. At this time in our life maybe that is school, grocery store, park, ball games, etc...

A Stone Gatherer said...

Wow! I don't know if I have anything to add or not! Each situation is different! Like Joanne said, there needs to be a relationship! We need to build relationships for non-christians. That really can't be done in a bar! The last time I went you couldn't talk to each other sitting right next to each other. In the situation you stated, maybe you could meet at a place like Applebees. There you can talk, if they want a drink they can get one and a relationship can be formed. Like Mari said though each situation is different. God knows your heart and what you would be trying to do! Stay in communion with Him and you will make the decision he would want you to make!
Thanks for posting your thoughts!

Rebekah said...

I grew up in a Christian family and went to a Christian school.

(wow, how can I put all this without rambling on. I'll try to give a reader digest version)

I sometimes had pre conceived notions that you couldnt have fun as a Christian. Which is weird cuz my dad had a great sense of humor.

Many non-Christians have that same notion. Christian are stuffy, dry, and no personality.

I think being 'in this world' means that we are still human. We live, love, laugh, make mistakes, have desires. Being 'of this world' means we give in to those human sides of us.

The fact that you would go into a bar (to have a drink or not have a drink) shows that you are not 'too good' to fellowship with your fellow man.

Being in this world vs of this world- means you can enjoy some comforts of life, but lifes comforts don't control you.

Yes, we do need to be careful who and how we fellowship with non-Christians. But that doesn't mean we can't be their friends.
I think sometimes Christians are the biggest judgers of people and put on their "Im too good for you" coats.

Jesus ate with the leppers.

It's all our own personal walk with Christ. What is good for one person, may be a stumbling block for another (going into a bar). We need not judge. We need only to love as Christ loved us.