Change in Direction

TIMES CHANGE, WE CHANGE. God never changes. There is a sustained reality in the universe (some refer to this as “metanarrative”) that defines and upholds all that exists. All religions speak of this. It is the responsibility of every Christian to present for consideration the story of Christianity as more than “just another worldview” among the many religions and philosophies. Yet, this is a daunting and seemingly insurmountable task given the nearly-militant rejection of God and religion in today’s post-truth culture. Specific to Christianity, believers are said to be elitist, bigoted, narrowminded, anti-science, stuck in the “dark ages.” It doesn’t take long for non-believers to tell you how much they hate the way Christians judge other people. Admittedly, I am rather judgmental; especially so without the mercy and love of Christ in my heart. The presence of judgment denotes the absence of love.

Much of society focuses on blatant hypocrisy in the Christian church. Mahatma Gandhi famously said, “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.” It’s far easier to call someone else a hypocrite than look at the hypocrisy in your own life. My walk doesn’t always match my talk. Admitting my shortcomings and character defects provides room for God to work on me. Humility allows the building of a bridge between ourselves and others. Working toward spiritual maturity in Christ will bring about such changes. It will change the capacity of the heart. This is what is meant by “sanctification,” from the Hebrew (qdš) and Greek (hagias), meaning “set apart” from common, secular use. However, our “setting apart” is not meant to be exclusionary.

Fundamental Christian views teach believers to “come out from among the world,” and conform to Christ. This is an incredibly important concept, but Christians tend to do so to the detriment of friendship and fellowship. For centuries, Christian churches served as bastions of purity wherein the followers of Christ hid away from the sin and debauchery of “everyone else.” Imagine if Christ “shied away” from lepers, prostitutes, tax collectors, fishermen, tent makers, the demon possessed, the poor and homeless. If Jesus held to this idea of avoiding sinners and hiding within the temple walls, the story of redemption would have been hidden from the world. Christians must not withdraw from surrounding culture; they must engage culture in a way that is loving, respectful, gentle, and productive. Christ came not as One to be served, but to serve. He was humble and obedient to the will of God even unto death. Christians are called to imitate Christ.

As I continued my studies at Colorado Christian University, I became familiar with the concept of “worldview.” Its etymology is rooted in German: Weltanschauung, literally meaning “world view,from Welt (“world”) and Anschauung (“view”), which ultimately derives from the Middle High German verb schouwen, “to look at” or “to see.” As you might expect, everyone has a “world view,” as it is a particular philosophy of life or conception of the world and one’s place in it; a collection of beliefs about life and the universe. It takes no stretch of the imagination to realize that one’s worldview will have a profound impact on one’s actions. My breakthrough regarding this very point occurred during my undergraduate class in World Views. The professor asked us to consider the following: How different would your overt behavior be if you lived out the worldview you claim to hold in your heart? Whoa!

Going Forward

Apologetics has become a big part of my ministry. I recognize the importance of being well-equipped to make a defense to anyone who asks me for a reason for the hope that is in me concerning Jesus Christ (see 1 Pet. 3:15, ESV). Although this is different than the office of evangelist (see Eph. 4:11-16), Peter is telling all believers to be prepared for defending the gospel. Apologetics is sometimes identified as pre-evangelism. Truly, it can’t be any other way, for the individual believer often has the most opportunity to directly impact the lives of non-believers. To a great extent, this is what giving testimony of your beliefs (your story) is all about. It is you, humbly admitting what your life used to be like, what happened to change all that, and what it’s like now.

Apologetics is evangelism in action.

I have officially renamed this blog site The Accidental Apologist, with a tag line of “Christ in Post-Christian Culture.” I initially chose “the accidental poet” as an homage to poetry and to my “accidental” status as a poet. Over the course of my struggles with active addiction, I spent a lot of time journaling and writing in hopes of getting at the deep recesses within me and coming to grips with my difficulties. I’ve often said writing and music saved my life many times. Music gave me a cathartic sense that I was not alone in my struggles; poetry and writing provided tools for working out my recovery in a tangible way. Most of my poetry seemed rather derivative, but occasionally I would write something profound enough to sit back and exclaim, Where did that come from?

Perhaps one of my simplest and yet most profound poems:

Silent and alone
I sit and stare at the horizon
And wonder when, if ever,
I will walk the face of this planet
In complete harmony
With myself.

The Accidental Poet has not died; indeed, he cannot. But my ministry is now focused on apologetics, evangelism, and disicpling. Topics will include sharing the gospel in post-Christian society, matters of Christian doctrine and theology, church history, cultural engagement, and counseling others, with the latter being specific to mental illness and addiction. I expect to change the hot buttons in the header to better reflect these categories. Also, in the interest of maintaining an open dialog, I will be adding a widget that will allow for comments and questions throughout the text rather than at the end. I am also considering shorter posts, but this is going to be tough for a loquacious writer!

And now, let’s engage!

I Look Foward to a Dialog on This. Please Comment.

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