This initial post is intended as a marker, a flag of sorts marking out where I am coming from. Living as a Christian, the “how do we live now?” question is a complex question and is so all-encompassing that any effort to address it as a whole is borderline foolishness. My intent is to break down the issues we face into “bite size” pieces and look at the barriers between the theory of how we should live and the practice of how that is actually lived out in “real life”, seeking practical ways to bridge the gap and in doing so hopefully grow into a more faithful follower of Jesus Christ.
Living as a Christian under the Kingship of Christ is difficult under the best of circumstances. Every Christian was at one time an unregenerate enemy of God, children of wrath who followed the rule of another (Eph 2: 1-3). Going from that state to a state of joyful submission to Christ is a difficult transaction for any person. Loving others more than we love ourselves? Submitting as bondservants to a King we have never set eyes on? Counting our success, our wealth, our “rights” as worthless compared to our membership in the Kingdom of God? That is hard stuff! Moving from a self-centered life to a Christ-centered life is a lifelong and temporally incomplete process even for the most righteous of us. That is true for believers in every land but as an American I think it is vastly more problematic.
Living under Christ’s Archy is especially troublesome for Christians who live in America. I have not lived anywhere other than America but there certainly seems to be a heightened sense in which our American identity and all that comes with that is almost inextricably linked to our Christian identity. For many Christians it is difficult to distinguish where one ends and the other begins. The culture of America and the culture of the church in America create a sense of American Christians being special, of America being a peculiarly special and blessed land, of an assumption of faith based on the most superficial of standards. Because of this American Christianity is often associated with some characteristics that are absent from the New Testament or even anathema to the values we are to reflect as followers of Christ: militarism, wealth accumulation, prestige and power seeking, patriotism, etc.
As I explore what it means to live under Christ’s Archy here and elsewhere, many of my writings will have a decidedly American flavor to them. I am sure that in other countries Christians face similar issue or completely different issues that create barriers and I am very interested in hearing from people outside of America, both to hear what uniquely cultural barriers they face and how they perceive American style of Christianity.
I am very excited about this project and where the conversations will take us. I can tell from past experience and the intro posts that there is a pretty diverse group so I expect some spirited discussions. Whatever our differences, we are united in one common cause: following Christ as ambassadors of the King to the world.