Sunday, December 04, 2005

the gutter

i'm reading the book 'the gutter' by craig gross. the basic theme of the book is that it's time for christians to stop living in safe little christian bubbles and get out into the world that needs God's love and forgiveness. in it, he references Isaiah 49. i read through it this morning and came to this verse: "I will feed your oppressors with their own flesh, and they will become drunk with their own blood as with sweet wine."

i know that in other parts of the world, christian persecution is very real. but in the states, it seems like we're most often oppressed by our own kind. when christians choose to step out of the safe (read "boring and ineffective") christian sub-culture and get around people who don't know God, they're often criticized. often harshly. craig gross is one of the founding members of something called "". it exists to reach out to the seedy, unpleasant world of pornography, and the people enslaved by it. but these guys don't just sit and write articles, they didn't start a "christian support group". they go to porn conventions. yep. they set up a booth at porn conventions, right in amongst all the other booths, and show God's love to a group of people who desperately need it, but rarely see it.

needless to say, they've been pounded on by christians for being in that kind of environment. but how else will those people be reached for God? they're not gonna go to church or any other type of christian or religious function.

the band Chevelle is another good example. they're christian, and want to reach people in the music world. show them God's love, and also show that it's possible to enjoy life without sex, drugs and drunkeness. so they play at events like ozzfest and warped tour, right alongside marilyn manson, linkin park, and countless others. they too are pounded, told by 'christians' that they're setting a poor example, compromising their beliefs, etc, etc.

it's a common pattern in american christianity. those who take seriously Jesus' command to "go.. into all nations" are treated like enemies. criticized and rallied against.

yet the ones who criticize never seem to have an alternate plan.
just once, i'd love to see the guys from Chevelle or P.O.D turn the tables and say "if what we're doing is wrong, then how would you suggest we reach people like brody dalle of the distillers? how do you suggest we show the love of Christ to guys like marilyn manson, ozzy osbourne or members of linkin park? what's your solution?"

it makes me wonder how Isaiah 49:26 applies to 'christian' oppressors. will they, in fact, suffer this kind of fate, in some way or another? i know the knee-jerk response is "no, because if they're christians, they've been forgiven." which is true. they have been forgiven. they do have a place in heaven. but the more i study, the more i learn about God and His ways, the more i learn that things are rarely so cut-and-dried. so it makes me wonder what will happen will they stand face to face with God. what will their fate be? more importantly, will they think it was worth it?

this book makes me anxious to head to the gutter myself. to reach out to those whom the 'christian' world deems to dirty to touch. my involvement w/the kids at the internet cafe is a start. being there on friday nights, i'm surrounded by kids w/mohaws, pierced everythings, black clothing... a bunch of young brody dalles. but it doesn't seem like it's enough. although, i'm beginning to realize that the ones who venture into the gutter never feel like they're doing enough. their burden is so great that every effort they make pales in comparison to the needs they see around them. so if my feeling like i'm not doing enough means i'm become more like the gutter-dwellers craig talks about in his book, then i guess that's alright. i can't think of any other group of people i'd rather be associated with.

so those who wish to can keep their safe, boring, ineffective brand of christianity. as for me, i'm gonna hang out in


Blogger Cheryl said...

May we all find ways to be "Roaring Lambs," Stef. I want to read this book!

1:16 PM  
Blogger Stef said...

highly highly recommended!
you can borrow my copy (when i get it back from the person who has it now) :)

3:39 PM  

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