Monthly Archives: August 2011
In the bubble or out of the bubble? There has been an assault on the concept of the “Christian Bubble” as of late. In case you missed the line of thinking, it’s pretty harshly described in the video below:
Essentially the Christian Bubble can be described as the phenomena of Christian people immersing themselves into a “Christian Only” philosophy of cultural intake. Christians who live inside the bubble tend to only listen to Christian music, read popular Christian authors, go to Christian concerts and only seek friendships with other Christian people.
Christian Bubble thinking provides a feeling of security, righteousness, honor to God, safety and fellowship which is criticized in many established and emerging Christian circles. The criticism focuses mainly on the unwillingness of Christians who live inside the bubble to disconnect from their method of cultural intake and connect with people and society outside the realm of Christianity. The Christian Bubble was labeled by opponents as a significant stubbling block to loving, serving and spreading the gospel to the world.
Now, how has this criticism affected Christiandom? It has produced what some have classified as “Hipster Christians” which can be seen as the antithesis of Bubble thinkers. This type of Christianity thumbs it’s nose at “safety” in the name of Jesus for pushing the boundaries of what’s expected of Christians. It tries to find the “essence of what’s cool” by being outside the mainstream. If something is billed “safe”, “right” or “secure” these Christians roll their eyes and find ways to break away or break through.
Interestingly enough. What is deemed cool by the definers of “Christian Hip” often becomes mainstream and therefore “Bubblized”. For instance, the use of electronic techonology (such as projectors, screens and computers) in church services was something cutting edge and hip in the 1980’s and early 90’s. Now these types of tools have rotated back around again from hip to unhip. Some deemers of “hip” today have found no use for them in their church services. This phenomena is identified as having been caused by a generation growing up with electronic technology all around them in church. When they came of age it was unique not to have electro-tech in church. They wanted to connect with the ancient aspects of the faith. These tools weren’t needed.
It’s a line that is constantly pushed. What is deemed “appropriate” today was heresy yesterday. Did you know that music produced now by mainstream Christian artists like Toby Mac or Skillet (which I love by the way) would have been considered dangerous forty years ago whether they mentioned Jesus in their lyrics or not? The genres probably would have been considered demonic. In fact, the genres didn’t exist for the most part. Now “Christian” music which fits into genres like screamo, techno, metal, hip-hop, folk, punk and thrash metal are all considered “safe” alternatives for Christian teens keep in their iPods.
The more the line is pushed the more the pendulum swings back and forth. “Preaching” is cool, then “giving a message” is cool. Modern worship is cool, then Liturgy makes a comeback. It will never end. What is considered “cutting edge” and “cool” will move to “appropriate” and “safe” forcing a new definition of cutting edge and cool and then back again. The question is: Where is Jesus in all of this?
People are unbalanced, therefore Christianity* is unbalanced. The mainstream Christian world tends to bounce from one popular extreme to the other. Usually it is based on compelling (and usually scriptural) theological arguments from speakers and preachers who represent a movement against the Christian status quo. We can search the scriptures right now and find scores of theological arguments which appear to be directly in opposition to one another. Hip Christians, seeking something “new” glom onto these lines of thinking with an “Aha!” feeling. This feeling leads to the belief that what we have been missing about our Christianity* has been found. Where is Jesus in this? Somewhere in the middle. I think Jesus pushes the status, but keeps what was important about the status as He moves. He sits in fulcrum of all our “theological” pursuits and with a tow line pulls us back toward the center, to Him, and watches us fly by as we pursue the next “aha!”
*the belief in and folowership of Jesus as the Resurrected Son of God