Monday, July 17, 2023

What's Right

The world is right about one thing - if you are trying to live in this world, the Christian worldview just doesn't work. If you want to fit in, to be just like everyone else, to live a "normal" life, to understand the references others make when they talk, then being a faithful Christian will keep you from all of those things. 

In fact, if you want the Christian life to "work" for you, then you have to have an entirely different set of definitions about what "working" means. 

But once you make that switch, once you adopt a different standard for what the good life means and what you consider meaningful, the Christian life is the only one that actually works. 

The world's philosophy - it just leaves so many lost, and I'm not talking about the eternal salvation of their soul. 

Some say that Christian marriage doesn't work because Christians are getting divorced at the same rate as non-Christians. But if you look deeper into the statistics, there's something else going on. Persons who only call themselves Christians, but don't actually pray, read their Bible, go to church, or make any reasonable attempt at all to live a life of faith, are getting divorced at slightly higher rates than the world-at-large, but committed Christians - those who pray, read their Bible, go to church, and live a life directed by faith - have a stunningly low rate of divorce. 

So we're at a place where what we really need is to define what is actually Christian before we just start lumping together everyone who wants to claim that name. Some call themselves Christians because their parents are Christian or they grew up in church or there is some societal benefit in their current position for them to claim it, but they aren't living that lifestyle. Thus, they are skewing all of our statistics away from a clear demonstration of a faith that works. 

On the basis of this, the world has tried to diminish marriage. It could take it or leave it. It claims that it isn't really a successful thing, so it doesn't matter all that much. This leaves a lot of individuals just floating around, trying to find meaningful relationship but not even knowing what that looks like any more or whether it's even possible. It is possible, and Christianity shows the way. 

The same is true about sexuality in general. The world has accepted a philosophy that "love is love." Anything goes. Whoever you love, that's cool. And whoever you love, they have a word for that. So we have an entire generation of folks trying desperately to figure out who they love, who they're attracted to, what is a fulfilling relationship for them, and if they can't nail it down, they'll take just about anything...and the world affirms this for them. Take anything. It's all the same. It's all good. 

Thus, we have a world full of persons in unfulfilling and unsatisfying relationships (both homosexual and heterosexual) because they've been told it's up to them to figure out what kind of love is their kind of love. No one ever set a boundary for them. 

Christianity, on the other hand, makes it clear from the start - if you are a man, you were created for a woman; if you are a woman, you were created for a man. (And in both cases, you were created first and foremost for God.) There's no more floating around. No more trying to figure out your compatibility. No more angst over identifying that thing that's missing, that thing that you need most from a relationship. It's right there. Christianity has identified it for you. 

And that's really what Christianity does - it puts boundaries around our living. The world says this is a problem, but we're seeing what kind of a problem the world's free-range philosophy really is. If you don't have a fence that tells you to stay in, you can go and wander anywhere and one day, you look up, and you don't even recognize where you are or how far away you've gone. 

The boundaries of faith help us by putting us into a framework that tells us how far we can go. We have freedom within the pasture, but the beauty of Christianity (in part) is the pasture! (And the Shepherd, of course.) The beauty is that we aren't left lost and floating and wandering and trying to figure everything out because the whole world is open to us. No. We know where we belong. We know our boundaries. We know where we can go. And this helps us make better choices. 

If you turn an animal loose in a strange land, it's probably going to go browsing around and taste a lot of poison berries before it can figure out what is good to eat. But keep it in a cultivated pasture, and the whole thing is safe. It's all good. There's no fear, no worry. 

That's what Christianity does.  

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