Tuesday, March 26, 2013

In the Valleys and on the Banks

If you grew up in Christianity, you know that the concept of the valley always relates to the low or tough places in life from Psalms 23.  But there is another valley that I'm talking about, the valley of conformity.

Transecting every culture and subculture is this steep gorge, where on the bottom is a wide path of expectations of that culture.  To try and deviate from that broad and smooth path is difficult . . . it is walking on the steep banks and cliffs . . . or walls.  Gravity constantly pulls you downward to the crowds that march in holy union going left and right, north and south like army ants.

There are days I want to give up. Where I want to turn around and go in step with those around me.  The Bible speaks in the New Testament of not being conformed to "this world."  I never thought when I first read this, that "this world" could also include this evangelical world.

Why do I even attempt to stay in the valley?  As I think about it, it is for two reasons.  My wife is in the center of modern evangelism. I want to connect to her. To connect to her, I must enter and be a part, even a tangential part of that wide path.  But I have to walk in silence there . . . or I will be hated.

The second reason is that there are few paths on the hill sides. There are other valleys, those of the totally non-Christian views.  Those valleys are even wider and I do go there. But I don't fit there either because I have to walk on the walls there too as I am as much of a Christian as I have ever been. There is hardly a path for those who believe in the central thesis, Jesus on the cross, a loving God who created all that is, but reject much of the other pretense of the evangelical culture.

A third reason, is of course for some human contact.  All my old friends are in that evangelical world. To be with them is to have some sense I am human because I can experience a social setting. Yet, I have to bare that constant flow of notions such as Obama being the devil, Jesus wants us all to have assault weapons with 50 bullet magazines, that all Arabs are evil genetically and despised by God, who ironically made them and that gays are the epitome of evil.  I can only bare those conversations briefly or I will go mad.

3 comments:

Ted said...

Mike, I could have written this line by line, point by point, if you hadn't beat me to it.

But your prose is better. Almost a poem.

jmj said...

Maybe there are many of us and many who could express it better.

Trevor said...

People really think stuff like this? I'm horrified. I don't know how you put up with it.