I really like Gabe Lyons’ book The Next Christians and have previously written about the book, but as I continued to read I began asking how accurate Lyons’ analysis is to my life. Generationally I qualify in what Lyons is describing, but goes beyond age.
His thesis for the book is that there is now a large group of Christians who are redefining what it looks like to follow Christ. Throughout the book he uses the verb “restore” over and over again to describe what these often young Christians are doing. He offers up six characteristics of these “restorers”. In the series that begins here I will be asking if I am a Next Christian, and if the people around me confirm Lyons’ proposal. I encourage you do the same in the comments.
Provoked, Not Offended
Being offended implies that you have been attacked personally. In being offended our defense mechanisms are triggered, we find fault, and write the other person/group/idea off. Politically we see this all the time as opposing parties spend their energy oversimplifying and blaming. The New Christians look for ways to take action in the current situation even looking past the fact that the current situation may be the consequences of bad decisions.
In theory I completely agree, but in practice it becomes more complicated. Lyons isn’t advocating endless handouts, but is pushing for a more engaged posture. I am learning that engagement isn’t a spur of the moment decision. To be engaged I am learning that I need to be making a series of intention decisions to put myself in a context that isn’t isolated and safe.
My issue isn’t judgment or blame it is comfort. Following Christ should impact every aspect of our lives and every aspect of the world around us. The problem that I experience is that I can somehow impact my context without sacrifice.