Sunday, February 3, 2013

Re-evaluating. Why do you do what you do?

*****DISCLAIMER**** If, at any time, you read something that seems slightly heretical  please keep reading. My intention is not to make you mad. It is to cause you to re-think what you've always thought. It is to help you realize that sometimes, thinking is a good thing. At the end of the post, if you still feel the need to burn me at the stake, leave a comment or email me or something and let me know what you think. Because I really want to know. If I'm totally wrong or you disagree, I want to know. If you agree or have supporting stuff, I still want to know.

Anyway, now that I have caught your attention, I wish to discuss the topic of: Should we sing "Happy Birthday" in church or not! OK, no--not going there. Don't really care. However, I want to talk about something very general and non-specific, that shouldn't make anyone mad. Unfortunately  it's the type of thing that everyone will take personally, and may make some people mad. Not that it matters, because very few people read this thing anyway.

I'm rambling. Why do you do what you do? I, recently, have become very annoyed with Christians (read, good people that I respect) who hold onto their issues so tightly that they miss the whole point of being a Christian. Or so it seems to me. They get their convictions and that becomes more important to them than doctrine. Yes, it is important to have convictions. If you aim at nothing, you are sure to hit it. You need to know what you believe and hold to that. Ephesians 4:14 says, "That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about by every wind of doctrine . . . ." Stuff changes, new ideas come along, and you don't want to follow every trend that may pass by you. You need to have convictions. But they need to be rooted in something other than "well, I was always taught this". I'm thinking about issues like dress, movie theaters, music, youth group, etc. Why do you do what you do?

Our generation (as in Generation Y, born in the mid-80s and 90s) are questioning more than any others before us. We are no longer willing to accept "just because we always have" as a reason for doing anything. (this is a generalization, AKA doesn't apply to everyone). We are thinking through stuff and re-evaluating. Christianity and religion is no different. It isn't the "key doctrines of the faith" (sanctification, virgin birth, inspiration of the Bible) that we are re-considering. No, most Christians my age that were raised in a fundamental type church won't deny those. We don't hardly even think about considering that they may be wrong. We know they aren't. We are considering stuff like, "why do I never go to a movie theater?" and other issues that are issues in the church today. "Why do we only use ____ translation of the Bible?" And we are coming up short. We don't know why. The Bible doesn't say, "Thou shalt only listen to music by this producer, and never to stuff by those guys over there". But we have taken those and applied them and passed them on. Since music is a subject near and dear to my heart, I'm going to leave it alone, or this blog post will never end. Let me give you an example of movie theaters. For some of you, this is an issue. For others, you wouldn't think twice about going. I'm not telling you what I think (if you've figured it out, I'm sorry--I'm trying to be unbiased). Your grandparents were alive when movie theaters first became popular, and they weren't the most wholesome place to go for entertainment. Christians thought that they were bad. Your grandparents told your parents never to go a movie theater.  You, therefore, grew up, having never been to a movie theater. This pattern could continue. (AGAIN, I'm not saying whether it's right or wrong). However, because you are a part of Gen. Y, you are re-evaluating. "Why are movie theaters such horrible places?" And you are coming up with your own conclusion, hopefully based on God's word, about what you believe, and why.
There's this thing called "the generation gap". Older people don't understand us and how we think, and we don't understand them and how they think. We can't crawl in their brain and see what is going on. Sometimes, it would be really nice if we could. When they tell us what they think, it's from their perspective. We then run it through our own filter and come up with something completely different. For instance: you know the peace sign, right?

My mom grew up in the 60s and 70s. (Think Hippies, drugs, sexual revolution, etc.). The peace sign was a symbol of that. For her and people in her generation, that is a very bad thing. In her perspective, that represents something totally different than what I think. I just think it's a funky sign that says, "hey, what's up" or something like that. 
We think differently. The question is, why do you do what you do. Is it just because you always have? Because, honestly, Christianity has been done exactly the same since Christ returned to heaven. Except there is a lot more apathy. Change isn't bad. The reason for change may be. If it's just rebellion, there's a problem. But if you want stuff to change to spread the gospel more effectively, that's something to be considered. For instance, the way we do evangelism. Can that be changed? I'm pretty sure Martin Luther was the one who started the door-to-door thing (Wittenburg, October 31, 1517). That's almost 500 years ago. How effective is that, really? Anyway, you get my point. 
Before you start making waves and changing everything you do, stop and think. How carefully have you evaluated what you think is "dumb"? Is it worth changing? Will people be hurt by what you are doing? Will it help or hinder the cause of Christ? 
And, get help. I do believe my generation can change the world. Remember Ps. 24:6--THIS is the generation that seeks God? My generation! Your generation! But we need help. The Word of God is a great place to start. Everything you face has answers in God's word. Even if it isn't clearly stated (like the movie theater thing). Also, remember the older people who have a different perspective than we do? Titus 2 has a lot of stuff about older people teaching younger people. Even if they see things differently than you do, get their advice. Let them know what you are thinking. Often, they haven't even considered changing. I had the amazing opportunity last night to hang out with some people that are a little bit older than I am, who have had some experience in ministry, etc. We talked for well over an hour about stuff like I'm telling you know. Getting their perspective. Seeing what they thought. What God said. And what can be done. Find people that you respect that are older than you. Dig into God's Word. Find the answers. Consider why you do what you do. If it doesn't measure up, doesn't make sense, or could be done better and more effectively, consider changing. It won't kill you.
Go change the world for God!

How many baptists does it take to change a lightbulb?
What's change?

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