Do we live on the same planet?

Sometimes I’ll meet a person in ministry and think, “Do we live on the same planet?” 

  • I’ve got a really solid core group of kids each Wednesday night– I think they have a chance at winning the Bible quizzing championship.
  • Our high school students are very involved in the community. Each year we get together with other churches in our district for a youth rally. They love it.
  • I always take my sword wherever I go. You have to be prepared for battle at all times.
  • I had to pull my kids out of public school because in California there’s a new law that teachers have to include gay history in the curriculum. (What’s really weird is that they don’t live in California!)
  • I teach my students that they need to take a stand. A life with Jesus is all about taking the stand, right?

Code language. Insular communities. Church-centric attitudes. It leaves me wondering who they are trying to reach?

It makes me wonder how they have a conversation with their neighbors? I wonder what they are thinking as they get to know Diane next door, who just had to put her mom in a home. Or what they talk about with the gay couple across the street? Or what their neighbors think about them when they turn off their light on Halloween? Or refuse to come to the block party because people are drinking?

I wonder if people think of them as good news in the neighborhood?

I’m guessing that there are a lot of neighbors hiding from a lot of their Christian neighbors in this country.

I believe in Jesus. He is my only hope for salvation. And I fully acknowledge that the church is God’s chosen instrument for believers. But there is this sliver of people in every church who… are really weird.

And no one ever has the guts to tell them the truth: “You’re weird. And you really need to work on that. Jesus asks us to be different in a good way. Your weirdness is making it harder for me.

The Flip Side – The culture wars are dying

Not all church staff are like that. It’s actually very few.

More and more I’m hearing a bad strategy being replaced with good strategy.

  • In order to reach a community you have to meet the relevant needs of the community.
  • In order to start reaching more people we had to stop fighting culture and stop teaching that the output of a life with Jesus is behavior modification.
  • We recognize that to reach our neighbors we have to be good news before they will hear Good News.
  • Rather than bring a program into our community which worked elsewhere, we’re going to the community and asking how we can serve them.
But it’s the really weird ones that we now have to shake and ask, “Do we live on the same planet?

By Adam McLane

Kristen and Adam live in Ahwahnee, California.

8 comments

  1. I often wonder the same thing. Sometimes my response is, “Do we even believe in the same Jesus?” I had a conversation with a mentor/professor of mine yesterday and we had a discussion about how we control our cynicism when we see people like you just described. God wants us to be prophetic but sometimes I get way too cynical in my discussions with these people. We both came to the conclusion that we need to be as humble as possible while also being faithful to Jesus and the gospels. Great post as usual Adam.

  2. So true. I think about that all the time. How are we reaching these people? By leaving they places where they are at? By making our churches so much like a “social club” that they wouldn’t even know where to get plugged in if they were invited to one of our “clubs.”

    Good post, Adam. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Great post! It got me thinking, Is there a place/need for these people in the church today? and if so, what/how can we learn from them? As we need to shake them I think they can shake and challenge us in a good way keeping from blending in too much at times…

  4. Adam, I with you most of the way on this, but I do take exception to you seeming to label us who don’t participate in halloween with the rest of the weird crowd. What do the neighbors think? Well, my guess it they judge us harshly. If that is true ( and no doubt some do ) then I wish they could come to the same understanding of Romans 14:14 that I have. I don’t judge people who celebrate or participate because for them, it may be fine, for us, it is not…..

    “Romans14:14 I am convinced, being fully persuaded in the Lord Jesus, that nothing is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for that person it is unclean. “

  5. I’m encouraged to read your post and, as you point out, hear more people talking like this. Our “christian” culture is too concerned with safety, convenience, not being challenged by real world issues, etc. We feel like we need to have an alternative version of everything, and then try to talk non-Christians into participating in our alternative, and usually, our alternatives are crap.

    Halloween is a great example. What if, instead of providing the Halloween alternative event at our church, we encouraged everyone in our congregations to throw Halloween parties, invite the neighbors, take all the kids trick or treating together, and work on developing relationships with those people?

    1. Agreed. I’ve written about Halloween many times.

      I just don’t know why Christians are so stuck up on the “devils night” thing. Dude, hundreds of kids come to my front door looking for a piece of candy. Didn’t Jesus say, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” in Matthew 19?

      People need to read Ephesians 5. How can you be light in dark places if you won’t go to dark places? It’s like going to Home Depot to the light section and saying, “LOOK AT ME, I’M A LIGHT!” Nonesense, Paul says to be light in dark places.

      Here’s more on Halloween:
      http://adammclane.com/2010/10/30/3-reasons-to-embrace-halloween-2/

  6. Reminds me of Paul who made himself relevant to all people. Great thoughts Adam… I often wonder what would happen if Christians would pull their heads out of the clouds. Our world needs to see others just like them with one exception… overcoming the trials that they can’t on their own. They need to see God working through imperfect people so that they might be inspired to know the God who will help them overcome.

    Thanks for sharing Adam!

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