Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ,
To God’s elect, exiles scattered throughout the provinces of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia, 2 who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to be obedient to Jesus Christ and sprinkled with his blood:
Grace and peace be yours in abundance.
Scot McKnight, in his commentary on 1 Peter 1:1,2 thinks of ways that Christians have become exiles in North America and he brings up the topic of education. I resonate with his analysis. He outlines how, in the church, there were those who entertained higher criticism and questioned biblical authority and emphasized social justice. Opposed to them was a group that emphasized biblical inerrancy, and the fundamentals of the faith, but in their focus on the spiritual they left the physical aspects of living unaddressed. The former group engaged society in universities, the latter group withdrew and founded their own Bible colleges, like the one I teach at. As a result, the biblical Christian voice has become marginal and disrespected in universities and colleges around the country. It is seen as a quirky, private way to view life. Public life is free from religion and free from the strife it brings. Christian views are attacked openly at the college level, often with open prejudice and little academic rigour. I know this from first hand experience where I was attacked repeatedly because I differed from the Marxist Christianity my undergraduate professor espoused.
This seeps down into our schooling. Many Christian parents try and read the Bible with their children at home, especially when they are little. However, God has no part in most Americans’ schooling and media consumption. Then I began to think about my identity. I know that the commentator I read today sees this, but am I a prophet? It sounds arrogant and presumptuous, but the prophets of old just spoke the truth into their times. Are we to own a title like ‘prophet’? It does not fit with the identity that I see within me. I see ‘fool’, ‘jester’, and ‘worthless’. However, my vision may be skewed by the lies whispered from the darkness in moments of weakness. In God’s strength we may own those titles the Bible gives to us. We are priests, we are prophets and we are princes and princesses in the Kingdom of God. Such titles awaken in me a longing to live out the calling that God issues. However, I shrink back as voices from the past attack me and tear me down. I think, though, that as I develop the voice that God declares is mine, I will warn anyone who will listen that the education we have chosen because it is public and ‘free’, has a cost that is pervasive and profound. When we teach in any venue and God is not central and the scriptures do not inform our teaching, we must expect results where biblical thinking is absent and God is not glorified. Indeed, that is the exodus from principled living that we are seeing. Surely somewhere someone must stand up and question why those who want to preach Jesus in the classroom are exiled and who want to disciple children can only be sojourners in public education. This earth is not our home. However, can we take on the task of education so that we are teachers whose children are shaped by eternal truth and timeless principles?
Father, I do not think it is for us to declare that we are a prophet. However, I do think that we must stand for truth in an age that silences God in education, media, and commerce. May we speak up for the God who defines us. May our identity be in you. If we find ourselves on the fringes, may we remember that it was ever so. May we be encouraged by our brother Peter, who after writing this book make a stand to the point of death.
- How are Christians aliens today in the media?
- How are Christians aliens today in the education system?
- How are Christians aliens in commerce?
- Are there ways that you do not quite fit in because you are following Jesus?
- What message has Jesus uniquely prepared you to share?
In the media world today, to be able to advance you have to be ok with everything and make fun of Christianity or be the very best at what you do. Most of the time Christianity is shown as foolish and judgmental. this is mostly because there are a lot of people that do very foolish things under the banner of Christianity. I recently watch a movie called saved, which was very offensive but very true at the same time. Christians are seen as fun suckers and conservative gay haters and anti choice people of the day. But then it’s almost seems cool to be a gay Christian. Media loves the world and everything in the world. When Christianity comes into the picture it brings the power to peel back this layer of lies to see reality and people begin to smell death. Once this aroma of death is in the air the act quickly to remove or belittle or criticize Christianity. Instead of covering true believers in the media, they cover wackos who are burning Korans and condemning gays to hell.
Christianity is not in the school system anymore. Even in religion class, most of the time Christianity is shredded apart and God is dead. The Bible is not true and if you believe the Bible, you must not be smart.
Through out most of my life I did not fit in because I am a Christian. Playing video games, watching movies, in the dressing room, going to party’s, conversations, people to be around, and desires in life.
The gospel is the message that Jesus uniquely prepared for me to share.
Christians are ridiculed in the media and mocked in the education system. The media portrays Christians as judgmental bigots and the education system portrays Christians as uneducated fools who are more interested in wishful thinking than in “factual evidence.” As I read this devotional, I am reminded of my own experiences within the public school system… and it breaks my heart to see how brainwashed I was by secular education, even as a proclaimed Christian. I cannot help but wonder how many Christian students there are in school that have an ever-growing distinction between their faith in Christ and their academics, as if they were somehow separated. I cannot help but wonder how many Christian students fail to see the gospel as the center of education, and replace it with performance-based routine that we have been consistently taught. If this is so with Christian students, how much worse is it for non-Christians?
With commerce, it seems as though it is becoming increasingly difficult to live by God’s standards in a world that is only interested in benefitting themselves. How can a Christian business man or woman be honest in a world that pressures them to lie to keep and grow in their rank? It is very difficult.
Since I have become completely devoted to Christ (shortly after high school), I have become more and more an outcast by those around me. My high school friends have walked away, saying how “annoying” and “overwhelming” I am as a Christian. They were used to me being a “Christian” with a divided heart, and the new devotion was too much for them to handle. It seems as though this has been one of the reoccurring battles in my life. Following Jesus means that my friend’s family will mock me, that old acquaintances will avoid me. As much as I have struggled through this process of losing people and my “likeableness,” I have found so much joy in doing what the Lord has commanded. The gospel is my heartbeat that I cannot live without. I desire to share what it means to be radically committed to Christ, and how following Him will cost us everything. I identify with David Platt’s radical movement in that way. At the same time, I identify with John Piper’s desiring God belief that the chief end of man is to glorify God by enjoying Him forever. Being in Christ is the greatest joy that the human can ever experience in this life, and I want that, and not religious rituals and traditions, to be what people understand as the heart of Christianity.
The media by and large presents Christians as arrogant, self-righteous, hypocritical prudes. We are the intolerant and judgmental. We are seen as aliens in the media and we are only sparsely involved in the media to give a more accurate and balanced perspective.
I too went to a secular university before coming to Moody and agree–the system espouses secular humanism. All else is seen as academically invalid and foolhardy. To embrace the authority of scripture or the centrality of Christ in your life is only ok if it is kept mostly to yourself or at least not imposed as more than “a” valid understanding (though never academically sound or critical).
It seems that most businesses succumb to the cultural ethics of business. There are exceptions to this rule who do not let the ends justify the means, but I think a lot are willing to compromise their integrity as if this area of their lives were not able to be scrutinized or surrendered to Christ.
At CSU it was almost a daily experience of not fitting in. I was doing a double major in physics and religious studies. Those in the former looked at me as pseudo scientific for not believing in the big bang and evolution. The religious studies’ professors and students were even worse. Much of my experience living as a seen believer in the world has been that of being seen as a fool. Some of my favorite quotes: “you are what’s wrong with everything in the world!” “People who believe in the Bible must be ignorant cavemen!”–ironically their vehemence only underscores and affirms what we believe, that there is a spiritual reality and we will often be hated by the world irrationally.
Your experience speaks volumes.
Although I hesitate to label the media as leftist and mainstream (no need to tie Christianity down to conservative American Patriotism), I do not disregard the bias that clearly show through in amount of time, voice given, and our portrayal is generally negative, if not only moral. For example, John Stewart’s The Daily Show, while satirical, does inform many (younger) people about news because it is spun in a hilarious fashion. Matt Slick of the Christian Apologetics and Resource Ministry was interviewed and then edited to make look like a bumbling fool, tripping over the easiest of questions like he had never put any thought into them. This was all done to portray Christianity as closed-minded and bigoted.
In the education system, we fool ourselves and try to say that removing prayer from school’s takes God out of them (debatable–He is, after all, Omnipresent). We like to think that America is a Christian nation and seem shocked when someone demands to remove “Under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance.
In most education, as is my understanding, Christianity is rejected by many for being too closed-minded, too sectarian, too foolish for anyone to believe.
Hopefully, a Christian actively involved (or involved at all) in the marketplace will act true to their confession and not be involved in scandal, scheme, or slimy practices. This virtue can alienate the Christian from those who do such things with little or no thought or concern.
I am not sure to what extent Christians have become exiles in American culture, but I do know that as a teacher, it is my hope that I will be able to help my students understand how they are being influenced by a world that is truly hostile to them–how to live as light in darkness; darkness that did not understand the light.
being a Bible College student has given me ample opportunity to strike up conversation in coffee shops and cafes when people ask me what sort of homework that I am doing. Bible college throws them off, but hopefully God uses the rest of the conversation to draw them closer to Himself as I tell them what God is doing with my life.
It’s interesting how a Christian’s experience is one which goes from being alienated from God and truly also from people and then to reconciliation, yet now experiencing a different kind of alienation from this sinful world and our old sinful selves, which we did not know like this before!
Having gone to public school all my life, and having become a Christian at age eleven, I did often feel alone. I loved to share my faith and some students thought of me as “strange” because of it. Honestly, I look back at my school years with joy though. Ironically perhaps, I think I felt more like an alien in my youth group. When I first got saved I really loved it, and don’t get me wrong and I learned a lot from it, but sometimes it didn’t seem like a community. I remember feeling so alone one time I was contemplating switching churches, but I’m glad I did stay, now looking back.
I know I shouldn’t be surprised when people don’t accept me or treat me as if I’m an outside. On man I’ve talked to the Lord about with said that he seriously thought I was insane for believing what I said I did! That actually made me happy as I can be bit afraid when I feel I’m blending in too much and not receiving the kind of response Scriptures says should happen.. “Like all who desire to be godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted…”