A Line In The Sand
This blog contains the views of its author, Assistant Pastor Craig Flack, and are not necessarily the views of Brookside Church. Craig also wishes to apologize for inevitable spelling and grammar errors. These blog entries do not go through a formal review process and many of them will reflect that!
Glen (only spelled with one “n”) is in his mid sixties and is the associate pastor at a rural church around Bowling Green. He is my colleague at Winebrenner Theological Seminary where I am a Masters of Divinity student. Glen is a wonderful man of God with a deep love of the scriptures and a humility that can, seemly, only be gain by decades of walking with the Lord. In a conversation with Glen recently he told me his frustration with social media, texting and “this young generation”. Now this was not just an “old man rant”, but Glen was expressing his frustration because of the obvious shortcomings he can see with my generation and those behind me. For the most part he is right. I have friends and know of people that literally struggle to have a face-to-face conversation and feel better expressed in 140 characters or less. Often they feel safer behind their keyboards and phones and have no problem riding with having ear buds in rather than speaking to anyone on public transit.
Glen was saying how sad it makes him and how he feels this will cause many to miss out on a beautiful side of Christian community. Again I have to agree with Glen. These social shortcomings will likely cause some to miss out on the fullness of Christian community. However, then Glen said something that has stuck with me. He said, “So I just refuse to text and all of that.” This is where Glen losses me. Even though he knows that texting or social media is not inherently sinful (though it certainly can go that way) he simply draws a line in the sand and says no. This really becomes an issue for Glen because he also expresses a desire to reach out to the “young generations” but isn’t finding much success. Unfortunately unless Glen decides to rethink his position on 21st century communication I doubt much success will come his way.
You see Glen has drawn a line in the sand over something that could be redeemed. Glen is not willing to look at something that could be used for his ministry and say “man I don’t like it but o well”. I was reading 1 Corinthians 9 where Paul says this
19 Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. 20 To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. 21 To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. 22 To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. 23 I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.
Put into todays speak. “For those who text, I text. For those who tweet, I tweet. For those who Facebook, I Facebook and engage them on their ground.” Paul was willing to bend, twist and turn to try and meet people where they were. By drawing a line in the sand and saying “I will not do that”, even if the action is not inherently sinful, we are removing our self from potential God ordained situations. Sometimes in life we have to do things we would rather not and may even disagree with. Sometimes those things will be for the cause of the Gospel. I hope to at the end of my life be able to say, like Paul, that I bent and twisted trying to be all things to all be that God may use me in some way to save a few. I know I have often drawn the line in the sand and said, “I will not do that” and have missed many opportunities because of it. Look I get there are certain actions a Christian simply can be apart of an a line in the sand must be drawn but I am not talking about these. But I cant help but think of all of the wisdom that Glen clearly has that may never have an opportunity to be shared because of what Glen has drawn his line. What kinds of relationship may not be started because of an unwillingness to bend and twist.
What opportunities have you refused to be apart of because you drew the line in the sand? What is a way that you can bend and twist that God may use you in a way you could have never dreamed? If you erased all the silly lines how could you be used by Jesus to be all things to all people?