Five week’s of Culture War sermons has prepared us for this Sunday! Every Christian has or will be confronted with “gray areas”. Gray areas are the practices, responses, or opportunities that are not seemingly mentioned in Holy Scripture but still make us feel guilty. For some, when confronted with a gray area, the natural tendency is to select one verse, twist it to mean something it never did, and lay out a bold principle by which all must reside. And, some others will swing the other way, ignoring guilt and loudly proclaiming, “Freedom in Christ” while they party like it’s 1999. Maybe you’ve wrestled with the gray areas? There are hundreds of them, but here are a few examples…
At what rating does Netflix become pornography?
How short of a skirt is too short of a skirt?
Is masturbation wrong?
Can I go clubbing Saturday and to church on Sunday?
Can I smoke or drink alcohol?
Is it okay to receive under the table tips?
When am I lazy versus when am I a workaholic?
These items, along with many others, loom over the conscience of most Christians. And, quite honestly, confuse the living daylights out of us! A list of questionable practices for one Christian may be regular Friday night practice by another. A list outlawed by one denomination may be embraced by another. For every Jonathan Edwards who surrendered his body like Paul, there’s a pipe stoking spiritual giant like C.S. Lewis. For every food fasting Kempis of the monastic order, there’s a cigarette smoking revolutionary like Dietrich Bonhoeffer. We reside in the middle. Guilty. Wondering. Tempted. Confused.
For the sake of application, I’ve intentionally kept this list benign but you and I both know that these gray areas clearly extend beyond simple do’s and dont’s and often express themselves in larger longterm philosophies regarding how we relate to friends, family, and society at large. These gray areas can come with deep spiritual and relational consequences.
A few weeks ago, a couple I deeply respect approached me and asked, “How do we tell our thirteen year old son to interact with a friend who is being raised by two gay mothers?” The depth of the question and the importance of the question overwhelmed me for a moment as a number of thoughts rattled around my head. Firstly, how many children will grow up, in this way, without a father? Secondly, how will the church love and relate to these two mothers? Thirdly, how will Christians properly love the gay community while instructing our children in righteousness?
I did not provide an immediate answer, and after provocative thought and deep prayer, still do not have a singular principle, because simple deduction reasons there to be multiple scriptural answers pertaining to Christians operating amidst a nation state slowly devoid of faith values.
Certainly, there is an external mandate on my friends, as Christians, to show patience and love to their son’s lost and hurting friend. Jesus did that and the early church did that. Yet, there also exists an internal mandate for they as Christian parents to instill biblical principles into the life of their child. Paul wrote that and the early church did that. Thus, a dualism exists that makes it impossible to give easy answers, and quite vital we know our bible thoroughly, and hear the voice of the Holy Spirit intimately, for each of our families, in each of our unique situations, will need make swift and serious choices for years to come!
So, whether it’s a question of booty shorts and online gaming or something much more serious like relating to a post Christian America, these issues will impact us every day, and the questions must be asked and answered. What is Christian liberty? How far is too far? Why do I feel guilty while they do not? How do we navigate with wisdom when we don’t have a chapter and verse to help?
This Sunday, we’ll discover the Scriptural answer together! I’m pumped for this special conclusion in the book of 1 Corinthians. And in reminder, I exhort you that, true disciples of Christ do not attend the church, they are the church – Please begin praying now and come with bible in hand!
Join us for our current series “Culture Wars: A Christian Overcoming in the era of text, tweet, and twerk.” To join us live or online at CAM, please visit our website or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. “Hope to All People”