I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how Christians can be in the world but not of it. How do we become all things to all people (1 Cor. 9:22) while remaining rock solid in the faith?
We’re told we are the salt and light of the world (Mat. 5:13-14), and at the same time we’re told we shouldn’t be conformed to the pattern of this world (Romans 12:2) and we must sometimes shake the dust from our feet (Luke 9:5). It’s a tough balancing act, walking the line between “hard Christianity” and “cool Christianity.”
Some Christians, the hard ones, forget to be salt and light. They’re so intent on making converts and “preaching the Word” that they drive people from Christ. They like being called “hateful” because it’s proof they’re preaching the real Word of God—even if people run screaming from them.
But while hard Christians can do damage, they’re easy to spot. They don’t blend with the scenery.
Cool Christians, on the other hand—cool as in hip— blend with ease. They feel at home in the world. They like being called “reasonable” because they’re living in the twenty-first century, for crying out loud. Cool Christians are “refreshing.” They’re called “loving” by people whose definition of love leans toward lollipop acceptance and away from the image of an enraged messiah overturning tables outside a temple.
Cool Christianity is popular because while it appears to be forward looking—and who doesn’t like to be called forward looking?—it’s simply the path of least resistance. It’s the mind falling into the comfortable rut dug by the prevailing culture.
Which takes us back to the balancing act. It’s hard to be in the world but not of it. Although we shouldn’t speak the truth without love (hard), neither should we play it safe (cool). Christians should be dangerous—without becoming hard. They should pose a threat to secular culture, not embrace it.
It’s hard to walk that line.