Friday, September 26, 2008

Thoughts on Bono's Thoughts

Okay try not
 to flog me whilst reading the following: Yes, I am a fan of U2. I mean come on, if you like rock how can you not like U2? And yes, I do believe personally that Bono is a Christian. Yeah yeah, I know that most of us think he's just some weird environmentalist who seeks for the betterment of humanity only for tax cuts. I don't think so. What spurred up this random declaration of devotion to Bono and his clan? Well I recently finished an amazing book called Reason for God by Tim Keller. It's somewhat along the lines of Lee Strobel's works, just far less wordier. Anyway, apparently he's apart of the Bono sect of believers as well. I felt it would put Bono in a new light to post what Keller cited in his book, an excerpt of an interview with Michka Assayas:
Assayas: Christ has his rank among the world's great thinkers. But Son of God, isn't that far-fetched?

Bono: No, it's not far-fetched to me. Look, the secular response to the Christ story always goes like this: He was a great prophet, obviously a very interesting guy, had a lot to say along the lines of other great prophets, be they Elijah, Muhammad, Buddha, or Confucius. But actually Christ doesn't allow you that. He doesn't let you off that hook. Christ says 'No, I'm not saying I'm a teacher, don't call me teacher. I'm not saying I'm a prophet. I'm saying I'm the Messiah. I'm saying I am God incarnate.' And people say: No, no, please, just be a prophet. A prophet we can take. You're a bit eccentric. We've had John the Baptist eating locusts and wild honey, we can handle that. But don't mention the "M" word! Because, you know, we're gonna have to crucify you. And he goes: No, no, I know you're expecting me to come back with an army and set you free from these creeps, but actually I am the Messiah. At this point, everyone starts staring at their shoes, and says: Oh, my God, he's gonna keep saying this. So what you're left with is either Christ was who He said He was - the Messiah - or a complete nutcase. I mean, we're talking nutcase on the level of Charles Manson... I'm not joking here. The idea that the entire course of civilization for over half of the globe could have its fate changed and turned upside-down by a nutcase, for me that's far-fetched..."
I definitely agree, Bono. And as always and even more, you rock.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Cue the Cameraman...

I've become quite a fan of the U.S. version of the Office. I mean, it's not the best show to watch but it is extremely funny. Really, I like the concept of it. If you've never seen it, it's basically like a documentary-sitcom. Unlike the normal show, the Office is taped by one video man in a single shot view (and the characters are aware of its presence and sometimes reacts to it), with no studio and no audience or laugh track. I just think the idea is so original and it really works.

Well I was watching it earlier and I began to wonder how it would be if my life was documented like that. What if your life was documented like that? Would you be proud of what's caught on tape? The beauty of the show is that the story line is an honest one, the characters are without any pretense in front of the camera. So in all honesty, would your life be one that glorifies God? Mine wouldn't, at least not how He wants it too. 1 Corinthians 10:31 says, "... whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God." Are we taking this command seriously?

Take it loosely, but think of the world as a cameraman. They're watching so closely, observing how we live honestly. "...let your light shine before others so that they may...give glory to your Father in heaven." We're the image bearers of Christ, the characters in this pretense-free documentary called the Christian life. What's our image saying about our Father? Are we giving Him justice?

Monday, September 8, 2008

The Cool Christian: Paradox Maybe?

I've been wondering about some things lately. One of the most reoccurring thoughts that plague me is how I am to relate to this current culture, namely, to the world. How important is relation to the world for the Christian? Should we strive to be relevant or seek to be as different as possible? It would seem that the latter would be the obvious choice but I don't believe this problem is quite so black and white as we wish.

Let's go through both scenarios, shall we? You have one Christian who's as cool as grandma's new hip. They dress like the celebrities, listen to the popular music, go to the places, and speak all the cool slang. This Christian is so relevant, in fact, that there is no difference between themselves and the world. They are so culturally in sync, that the opportunity to affect the world is completely shot. But then there is that weird Christian on the other side. They dress like bums which coincides parallel to their personalities that scream "get away from me you nasty heathen!" They are so committed to being culturally irrelevant that they too shoot down their opportunity to affect the world. So, where does this leave us?

I struggle with the first scenario constantly. I want to be relevant, to be culturally correct, to be counted as cool in the eyes of this world. This desire, however, cannot coexist with the command to be a light in this world of utter darkness. But how can I, how can we find the balance? I was snooping around on Myspace, yep... there are genuine Christians on Myspace, and I found this awesome response from Jon Foreman, the frontman of Switchfoot:

...our current western church (including myself from time to time) is far too interested in being cool, being trendy, being relevant.
Jon goes on to say that all we're trying to do is, "figure out what it means to be a believer in the here and now."
That's what I'm attempting to figure out as well. I think being a believer in the here and now means to love, not this world, but the people in it. Jesus didn't say, "Get away from Me you nasty heathen!". In fact, it was the seemingly righteous that He condemned! But, Jesus also didn't look like the world. He had the perfect balance of being relevant enough to still show His light and affect the world around Him. This is our calling as well. As Jon so eloquently puts it, "We're called to love each other and love never goes out of fashion."

We cannot become preoccupied with having an image of coolness, being culturally correct to the world. It was not what Christ strove for and it is not what He called us to. He rather called us to love our neighbors as ourselves, whether they are Christians or not. He has given us the task to let our lights shine before others, specifically the world, that they might glorify our Father in Heaven. It will never be cool to be a Christian, and in the end, it won't matter how cool we were. What matters will be how we illuminated the light of Christ, a light that cannot shine through complete similarity or utter indifference. The world does not need the Christian who is just like them, nor can they have any use in the Christian who cares nothing for them. Jesus is not our homeboy, and the world does not need that kind of Jesus anyway. They need the Savior who loves... and they need His disciples who will love them as well.