When I was Young
When I was young, I was indifferent, unexcited and maybe even bored with Christianity. As an evangelical I had my “get-into-heaven-free” card and thus was already good to go. But what was I going to do for the rest of my life? I knew that the world around me was in a bad way and I didn’t like the direction it was heading. I knew in my heart that Christ was the answer but what was I supposed to do about it? How could I serve God? The standard evangelical answer was that if you really want to serve God, become a preacher or a missionary. The Evangelists, (the only ones really practically serving God) mission was to spread the good news of the “gospel” that the “get-into-heaven-free” cards were available to anyone who asked for them. However, the key to being a good salesperson was to believe in the goods you were selling. But I could not get excited by this “gospel” message. I could understand why it might be exciting if I was about to die. Then I would grab the chance to secure my future happiness and have something to look forward to. This gospel seemed to be designed for old people. How many people had I known would had lived most of their life any way they wanted only to get religious at the end of their life! It only made sense. The standard evangelical “gospel” only got exciting as you approached death. The standard evangelical line was to constantly warn us that we could die at any time so we had better be prepared. When someone died unexpectedly at a young age, the churches would be filled as the evangelical message would have added poignancy. However, the shock would wear off and people would soon get back to their worldly lifestyles as if nothing had happened. Here was the crux of my problem. I wanted to do something about the problems all around me and I knew that answer had something to do with serving Christ. Yet I could not get excited about the standard vocations offered me by Evangelicalism. The “gospel” only seemed to have relevance for death, but gave very little direction on life. For evangelical Christians the good life was preaching the “gospel.” If you refused to really serve God then you were accepted a second-class Christian. The good part about this was that you could do practically anything you want as long as you were good when you did it. Play by the rules, go to church, pray and read your Bible regularly and give to those who are really serving God and you could pursue anything you want (within the bounds of decency of course). Note that the prescribed evangelical way of life says nothing about the social problems around us. The second class Christians could pursue them if they wanted to but there is nothing implying that we should or had to do anything about them.