they DON’T live on another planet!

disclaimer: i’m just going to take a chance, and write what i’m thinking about without censoring it. it may not make any sense. it may be mean. it may be long. be prepared for the worst. i apologize in advance.

so, right now we are in the middle of this whole missional-church-plant thing in the santa clarita valley, and ya know what amazes me more than anything (and this SHOULDN’T amaze me because i’ve known it, and observed it, for a long time…)?

the number one thing we hear from people within the church (regarding how to plant a missional church) is, ‘in order to reach your culture, you need to find out what your culture is watching/reading/listening to/going through and really connect with them through that. (this will be referred to as, “statement 1”)’

here’s (one of) my problem(s) with that statement:

it seems like christians live on a completely different planet. and this planet only carries family-friendly movies, starring kirk cameron, books, by max lucado, paintings, by thomas kinkade, and music by chris tomlin. this planet has no alcohol, no tobacco, no cursing, and nothing that’s not approved by dr. dobson. (this will be referred to as “statement 2”)

here’s the problem with my statement (statement 2), concerning the first statement (statement 1):

christians don’t live on another planet. to critique ‘statement 2’, i have to focus on the second word in the first sentence: it SEEMS like christians live on another planet. SEEMS. but… alas, they DON’T live on another planet. they live on this one. they live on the same beautifully messed up ball-o-dirt that every single muslim, and hindu, and mormon, and catholic, and homosexual, and heroine addict, and pentacostal and baptist live on. therefore, no matter how many ‘christian’ alternatives they create to pop culture, they will never completely shut it out. they can’t. all they need to do is watch the news in the morning. watch the previews at the family-films they do see in theaters. listen to the radio on the way to work. blah, blah, blah.

maybe you’re wondering why i’m referring to christians as ‘they’, when (as, i am a follower of jesus), i should be saying ‘we’. this is because, many times, the greatest enemy is usually on the inside. and i’m pretty sure that most of the american church is the inside enemy. i mean, i love them. all of them. i love them dearly, and i would give my life for them, but there’s nothing that ticks me off more than a group of people who go to church to ‘get fed’ and ‘grow spiritually’ and learn how to ‘reach their community for jesus’ but, ultimately just sit back and watch the world go to hell because of a cuss word and/or a sex scene.

tonight i saw superbad. and yes. it was superbad. they named it that for a reason. the entire movie two guys tried to get beer so that they could eventually get some girls drunk and sleep with them. that was the entire plot.

did i laugh? yes. the whole time.

was it one of the most vulgar movies i’ve ever seen in my life? yes.

did it ultimately have a good moral in the end?


i’ll say that again:


the movie ended with one guy refusing sex from a drunk girl, and one girl refusing sex from a drunk guy. then they all decided that it would be better to date, and learn to love, rather than just diving into sex (no pun intended).

was it dobson-worthy? NO. not at all.

would i take my children to see it (if i had children)? NO.

but are my kids going to go to high school one day? YES.

are they going to hear a cuss word? MANY.

are they going to hear about who got drunk at the party, and how plastered people were, and who so-and-so slept with? YES.

am i going to send them to school with some sort of ‘sky-angel’ filter attached to their ears? NO.

because, this is how the world works. horny guys try to get chicks drunk so that they have a chance to sleep with them. it’s normal. it’s completely, and utterly, sinful and wrong, but its completely normal. the funny thing about this film, is that it illustrated perfectly, what most christians try to prove all the time! it illustrated that no matter what people do (be it smoking underage, drinking underage, having premarital sex, lying, cheating, stealing), there’s almost always an underlying sense of right and wrong.

christians try to use the whole ‘god’s law written on their hearts’ (romans 2:12-16) thing when conversing with people all the time, but they don’t have enough knowledge of the culture around them (despite the fact that they live in the stinkin’ middle of it!) to know that it’s actually true, and that pop culture actually teaches that – albeit, they use entirely different language, and many times they don’t realize that they are doing so.

They just know that superbad (according to focus) has:

“Nudity… shown in two porn-related instances.”

“nearly every single person in the film (including two on-duty police officers)… shown drinking and/or drunk.”

“the f-word nearly 200 times”

“The s-word… around 75 times”

and so on…

so, to make a long story, short (even though, if you’ve made it this far, you’ve read the long story):

if you’re going to live missionally in your community, find out what your culture is reading/watching/listening to in order to reach them for jesus. but please, don’t go near anything that your culture is reading/watching/listening to.  if you do, you’ll be corrupted.

God’s not big enough to protect you in the midst of a lost culture.  you will get sucked in.

so it goes.


and he called the people to him again and said to them, ‘hear me, all of you, and understand: there is nothing outside a person that by going into him can defile him, but the things that come out of a person are what defile him.’

jesus – mark 7:14-15

2 Responses to “they DON’T live on another planet!”
  1. acts242 says:

    I agree we are NOT to be “So heavenly minded we are no earthly good”

  2. Dave DeVries says:

    Nate – great thoughts.

    You might want to check out David Kinnaman’s new book: Unchristian.

    As you try to reach those outside of Christ, you need to see that most of them think Christians no longer represent what Jesus had in mind. I think they may be right.

    One outsider is quoted in this book saying, “Christianity has become bloated with blind followers who would rather repeat slogans than actually feel compassion and care. Christianity has become marketed and streamlined into a juggernaut of fearmongering that has lost its own heart.”

    I think you’re on the right track. Keep caring for outsiders!

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