“How have we Christians become so irrelevant when we have tried so hard to be relevant?” – Os Guinness
There was a time when every cool individual in the USA either owned a Pet Rock or knew somebody who did. For $9.99 you could enjoy the most low maintenance pet in all the world. Each rock came nestled among soft straw in a designer crate, complete with a handy manual on the care and training of rocks. A generation later, Pet Rocks seem like another goofy idea whose time has come and gone- along with Rubik’s Cube, the Slinky, and the hip Christian.
Followers of Christ have been trying hard to achieve relevance for over a decade now. We’ve burned through Postmodern Christianity, the Emerging Church, and Open Theism in our attempt to scratch what itches in our pagan culture. They’re not itching for us! It’s 2013 and we rock out at more more cocktail parties, enjoy more R-rated movies, and wear more daring fashions than ever before. We even share apartments with unmarried members of the opposite sex, generally sleeping in separate rooms but projecting an image that meshes with the American Zeitgeist. Breaking news: we still get no respect and more Americans are self-identifying as agnostic than ever before. Why do they see no evidence of a holy God in our trendy examples?
It’s sad to try so hard and fall so flat! But face it- when you conceal or deny the deepest convictions of your faith, all you have left is surface religion. We call that “superficial.” People may like superficial TV shows, but what’s the point of superficial religion? A good stand up comic can make you laugh without demanding you change anything in your life.
We will never enjoy popular acclaim until we fit in. But as Os Guinness points out in his book Prophetic Untimeliness, the man or woman who lives by faith cannot fit in. We are called by the Gospel not to be conformed to the patterns of the world, but to be transformed by the renewal of our minds. If we cannot afford to be seen as misfits, then the change required by our world is too expensive for us. We have sold out to fashion.
Lift up the Cross!