I want to think a little bit about a quote from Bonhoeffer. Its really deep – okay most of what he writes is deep. But this one quote gets me every time. He says this:
Being a Christian is less about cautiously avoiding sin than about courageously and actively doing God’s will.
And I think that is so true. The reason that I don’t think that “sheltering” or “Christian Bubble” thinking or practice works is because the focus is off. In those paradigms the focus is to avoid sin, to stay safe, to be cautious, and only to be involved with things that are “approved” (by whomever has the authority). And please hear me clearly, I’m certainly not against avoiding sin or avoiding dangerous or compromising situations. My issue is with the central focus.
In the “sheltering” or “Christian Bubble” thinking the central focus is actually sin. Sure the focus is avoiding sin, but the focus is still sin. The entire paradigm is driven by fear (don’t fall into sin) negativity (don’t don’t don’t) and staying “safe”. And this is Bonhoeffer’s point. The central activity of being a Christian isn’t what you are again, staying safe, or of fear of the world.
The central mark of being a Christian is courageously following God.
Focusing on following God needs to be the central defining aspect of a Christians life. And yes that entails avoiding sin, and compromising situations but those are secondary to the primary Christian calling: courageously following Christ.
My point is that Bonhoeffer is right. The focus of Christianity isn’t just about avoiding sin, but courageously doing God’s calling. Christianity isn’t best thought of as a retreat, or evacuation from the world, or a refuge from the world; it is best thought of as an adventure in partnering with God to save the world.