Saturday, June 9, 2007


Lately, I have been logging a pretty good number of hours helping to paint and fix-up the house of one of our staff members here in the neighborhood and as a result I've also logged a good number of hours listening to Christian radio. Invariably at least three times an hour, the local station will run a commercial that makes a claim to the effect of "88.1: The safe alternative".

I understand that the "safe" claim is meant to be a statement that the content on their station will not run the risk of being offensive or immoral, but what concerns me is that this concept of Christian safety might be indicative of a larger trend. Somewhere along the way, Christianity has become safe. Further, it has even become normal and assumed. I once heard a story about a group of American soldiers who were approached by an Army chaplain during World War Two and when the chaplain asked: "Are you men Christians?" One soldier answered for the entire group saying, "Of course we are, we're Americans." In this example, Christianity becomes a fragment of nationality and it does not take much examination of Scripture to see that this is a faulty idea (Colossians 3:11; Galatians 3:28). But that's an entirely different tangent that I won't take you down . . .

The part of that soldier's answer that I want to address is the routinization and assumption of Christianity. Somewhere along the line (where on the line it falls is not terribly important) Christianity was perverted from a transformative, dynamic life change into an inherited, apathetic presumption. The former is far from safe, while that latter is so safe that its boring, so safe it has nothing to offer, and so safe a thinking person is probably right to shed it and leave it behind. This is obviously a huge problem because this mutation of Christianity is A. a departure from Truth and B. killing the Church.

The point being: Christianity is not safe. It is a religion built on martyrdom, both in its spread and in its Namesake's death. Throughout history, millions have faced decisions that proved Christianity to be anything but safe for them. Rather than give the historical run-down, I'll point out one contemporary example. In what can be called a "21st century Underground Railroad", North Korean Christians are known to make escape attempts into China (a country guilty itself of innumerable acts of persecution) and upon arrival have to hide themselves for fear of deportation back to North Korea, where a possible punishment for their belief is public execution. Christianity is not safe.

Or perhaps, because the majority of us will never face such extreme circumstances it is better to examine other ways that Christianity differs from the "safe" model. When viewed as a "transformative, dynamic life change" Christianity becomes dangerous. However, this danger is really no danger at all as the end goal is ultimate Good. This view of Christianity is one where Christ came not as a mere moral teacher or philosopher, but to create a new kind of human being. And if the creation of a new kind of human is going to take place, this will prove very dangerous for our current self. Essentially, your life is going to change, drastically, but rather than rambling for a few paragraphs I'll let C.S. Lewis do the talking:
The Christian way is different: harder, and easier. Christ says, 'Give me All. I don't want so much of your time and so much of your money and so much of your work: I want You. I have not come to torment the natural self, but to kill it. No half-measures are any good. I don't want to cut off a branch here and a branch there, I want to have the whole tree down. I don't want to drill the tooth, or to crown it, or to stop it, but to have it out. Hand over the whole natural self, all the desires which you think innocent as well as the ones you think wicked-the whole outfit. I will give you a new self instead. In fact, I will give you Myself: my own will shall become yours.' (Mere Christianity, 196)
The intentions of Christianity are not safe, as it will invariably result in change, however, those things that are going to be lost are well worth it or as an old Jewish convert once said:
What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him

Hmm, maybe its pretty safe after all.


See for other contemporary examples and how you can get involved