by John DeGroff
Clash Daily Guest Contributor
I read an interesting column in Townhall.com by Lisa DePasquale entitled “Conservative Cultural Bubble”. Posted on 8/19/14, the gist of what DePasquale had to say can be summed up in this one short quote from the article: “Improving the culture and the country can only happen if we bust out of our own bubble.”
Granted, her article was a lot more in depth than just that one thought, but that single line manages to make the point that we, as conservatives, get too comfortable, even complacent, when we associate only within our conservative tribes. We’re not going to have much of an impact on the country or our culture when our only involvement is simply complaining about all the liberal crap we see around us.
We as Christians are no less guilty of the same type of comfortable complacency. With all our mega churches, retreats, seminars, concerts and other assorted Christian media, we’ve created a Christian Bubble. We’ve become comfortable with our own. Ok, so what’s wrong with preaching to the choir, don’t they need to hear the message, too?
If you think I’m talking about overseas mission work to some third world toilet of a country…no. If that’s what you’re called to do, then by all means, follow that call. But if we don’t minister on our own turf, we miss great opportunities.
If you are a Christian, you are in ministry. You don’t have to be ordained. You don’t have to have been a down-and-out, living-under-a bridge drug addict at one time to have a viable testimony. If you’ve made Christ your savior, then you have a testimony and therefore a ministry.
We’ve all heard “…you’re in the world, not of it.” (Matt. 5:19, paraphrased), so often it’s a cliché. We’re practically immune to its true meaning. Finding that balance between “in…and not of” is crucial. That’s what it means to step outside of the Christian Bubble.
Now, doing so doesn’t mean we can’t use tried and true methods as well as current technology. It also means different things to different people. One example I can think of is rap/hip-hop. As a musician, I can’t stand it. I mean, really, what kind of talent does it take to memorize bad poetry that kinda-sorta rhymes? However, I’m also acutely aware that a Christian rapper can reach people I can’t even relate to. I’ve had to learn to step outside of my own bubble, outside of my comfort zone, and support some of these younger guys. After all, they don’t need my permission to have a ministry. What’s important is the end result of that ministry.
Another important reason to step outside of the bubble, outside of the comfort zone, is this: “You are the salt of the earth. If the salt loses its saltiness…it is no longer good for anything…” (Matt. 5:13)
The word “salt” comes from the Latin salarium. Our English word “salary” is derived from this. Other derivatives of the word are “sal”, “Sali”, and “salis”. Salt was considered a commodity of great value in the ancient world. It was often used as payment for Roman legions.
Perhaps, more importantly, is that salt is a preservative. Scriptural references to salt use it as a symbol of incorruption and perpetuity. In other words, before there was refrigeration, salt stopped the rot.
That’s the point of being outside the bubble, the comfort zone…to stop the rot. That’s why we’re in the world, but not of it. We are the preservative, no matter what ministry we do as believers, we stop the rot. Think it’s bad out there now? Imagine what it would be like without the influence of Christians.
John DeGroff is the original bass player for the Christian rock band Petra. He currently plays for the band GHF which is comprised of other original members from Petra. DeGroff has extensive experience as a freelance music journalist and newspaper reporter as well as an on-line music reviewer. He is a member of the Gospel Music Hall of Fame and lives in Warsaw, Indiana where he is employed as a care giver for mentally challenged adults.