Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Where do I belong?

So I'm sitting in a Christian coffee shop (free wi-fi = good) and working on some homework and stuff. As I'm sitting here I realize that I feel pretty out of place. They're piping Jesus-music over the speakers and they have autographed pictures of Jennifer Knapp and Third Day up on the walls. I remember a time when this would offer me a comfortable feeling, knowing that I'm surrounded by my "own kind". But now I'm not one of these people.

The odd thing is that I don't feel totaly comfortable in a "secular" environment either. I wonder if that's how I'm supposed to feel - never comfortable anywhere, really. That reminds me of a conversation I had recently about living life like a missionary. Maybe that's a part of the problem with North American Christianity - we've made it our goal to be comfortable, when all along we should be living like our comfort doesn't really matter that much. I don't know really.

Note: I really hate the use of the term "secular". In my experience it's used by Christians to demonize and denigrade anything that is not produced by Christians (e.g. secular-music). I think what pisses me off the most is that by calling the other stuff "secular" it makes the assumption that what is left is "sacred" as those are the only two possible categories, and I'm not ready to label much of the product of the Christian Corporate Machine as sacred. I think that category should have more meaning and power.


KMiV said...

James, I get that way too. However, you are transitioning from Memphis Bible Belt to Pagan Portland. You'll feel at home in a secular shop soon. However, it reminds me about Lutheran theology.

Lutherans feel that there is a tension between the kingdom of God and this world. We live in this world and have our hope in the kingdom. Therefore, there is tension. The Christian life is about living and thriving in this tension.

Sometimes I feel out of place in a Christian store not because I don't like it--but because it seems so unlike the world I live in. It is this same tension that we are encouraging our boys to accept as they go to a public school. They struggle with how to live in the world but keep their hope in the kingdom. And, along the way, the make friends with others who seek a way out--or a way to live in the tension. Then they invite them to taste of the kingdom and God does the rest.

Keep in there--Lori and I look to the day when you and Andrea launch a new church--and see the hearts which will be encouraged.

rich jandt said...

Whats up James, its been a while.
When I read your post it made me wonder how normal people feel when they enter our worship centers, let alone our coffee shops.

James T Wood said...

What's up, Rich! How's life?

Yeah, I remember one time I was at church and someone walked in off the street. One of the elders asked me to sit with him, so I did. That made me think the whole time how he was viewing the service - and I have to say I was horrified. If I was him I would have been scared off (and I'm pretty sure he was).

tabitha jane said...

i think you are starting to get it. i think you are smart. keep asking questions.