Back in the early 1970s I was part of the so-called Jesus Movement. One thing that we set as an objective was to show the world how it was possible to live according to the 1st century model of church that we read about in the book of Acts. We figured that if we could show people that this lifestyle 'worked' they would beat down our doors to get a piece of it. After all, as Fischer noted, we are a very pragmatic culture. If something 'works,' it absolutely MUST be true. We were, in fact, building the foundation of a 'christian' worldview. Today, one can look at the myriad organizations and churches that tout that their version of christianity works! You can be successful and have all of your needs met, just 'step right up' and climb aboard the gospel train. No more worries, no more stress, no more of the troubles of 'Your' world. We actually believed this. And, we preached it. The trouble was, it didn't work. And, those on the outside could see that it didn't work. We had televangelists talking the 'christian' talk, but failing miserably in life. Co-workers, who saw us everyday struggling to hold two worlds in tension, knew that we were failing. Now, we wonder why the culture has marginalized the message of Christ. We continue to try and show the world how good it is to be in a 'christian' world, but they aren't watching. They really don't care. As far as they are concerned we are a rerun of some bad 50s sitcom.
So, what to do? Honestly, I don't have answers. That's a good thing, I think. We cannot hold Yahweh in some box where we can let Him out when we need Him, but then close it when He gets too close. We want comfortable answers to all of life's questions. After all, won't that prove to the outside world that we are correct? Will that not vindicate us? Let me share a quote from Fischer's book. This is something that he quoted from a lecture series given by Robert Farrar Capon:
The Gospel proclaims a disreputable salvation. It hands us neither an intellectually respectable God nor a morally serious one. It gives us an action of God in Christ that is foolishness to the Greek in us and a scandal to our Jewishness. It presents us with a Sabbath-breaking Messiah whose supreme act is to be executed as a criminal-and who then rises and disappears, leaving us with a blithe assurance that everything is repaired even though, as far as we can see, nothing has been fixed.It seems that God is way bigger than we can imagine. God's way of working in the cosmos is not what we would necessarily think it should be. Living as the bible seems to prescribe should work! But, we live in the time between now and the age to come. This life is filled with paradox that cannot be answered. There is a mystery about Yahweh that we cannot possibly understand. Not all of our questions will be answered, nor should they. Living in a separate, disinfected world is not God's way. Getting closer to Yahweh, letting the Reign of God flourish within us is a way to start. Letting the glorious, good creation immerse us into the very presence of the Creator/Yahweh who walked among us is a way to begin living. Separating ourselves from the very world we are to be witnesses to this Great and Loving Father is not.