I wish society would make up its mind. When the church is surrounding itself with Gothic architecture, outdated music and not engaged in mission, the media attacks it for not being relevant. However, when it engages in mission and reaches into society, schools and the prisons, it is attacked for being too aggressive and for proselytising. Left wing, journalists have attacked the church’s programs in prisons because they are too effective at bringing people to faith and in changing their lives. They’ve also attacked the idea of Christian chaplains being in schools. If Christianity was safely irrelevant and ineffective, the journalists wouldn’t mind.
Jesus experienced the same frustration. Nothing he did pleased some people. He once said, “John the Baptist came neither eating nor drinking, and (this generation) said, ‘He has a demon.’ The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ (Mt 11:18-19)
The Christian author, Selwyn Hughes, wrote that:
Society demands conformity. If you fall beneath its standards it will punish you. If you rise above its standards, it will persecute you. It demands a grey, average morality. For this reason most people look around before they act. But in reality they don’t act, they react. They are echoes, not persons with voices. You have three choices: you can be self-centred, herd-centred or Christ-centred.
I want to invite you break free of conformity and become Christ-centred – and work with him to do his work. Selwyn Huges, Every Day With Jesus, 13th January, 2010