If you’ve got nothin’ to say to folks at Johnny’s Cafe
You’ve got nothin’ to say at all
Having nothing to say to the folks down at Johnny’s Cafe has more to do with whether we want to say something versus having anything to say at all. We all have plenty to say at Johnny’s; it’s all about whether we want to say anything or not. It’s mostly about whether we want to engage.
One of the greatest tragedies in Christendom in the last 40 years is that Christians have created a non-biblical value of separation from the surrounding culture. For the longest time it was equated with holiness, but more often than not, it has played into a fear of the world and a desire to remain isolated from that which makes us uncomfortable, or from that which is different. It’s so much easier being around people who believe the same things we believe. You don’t have to work at communicating. You don’t have to endure opinions that run counter to what we believe about the world. You don’t have to endure embarrassing off-color humor.
Being holy — being separate — gave us an excuse for being aloof. And the more we established a Christian subculture, the more we had a legitimate reason to stay away. We formed a reason for and a means of maintaining a lifestyle of cultural isolation. And we liked that. It pretty much let us off the hook in terms of the work required to communicate across cultural borders and barriers.
Now we’ve got a job to do: join the conversation down at Johnny’s Cafe (or wherever it is that you meet the world). Find out what we have in common with those around us. Don’t just join the church and fill your week up with church activities; join the P.T.A. or the soccer club, or the yoga class, or the soup kitchen — anything that throws you into the community and the culture you reside in.
Or get your boots on the ground and go down to Johnny’s Cafe, and don’t isolate yourself in a booth. Sit at the counter — somewhere you can rub shoulders with strangers (hopefully not strangers for long) and find out (which may surprise you), how much you have in common with everyone else. Let’s face it, we’re all worried; we are all afraid; we are all trying to survive; we are all fighting, or sticking our heads in the sand. We all have plenty to say.
I try to find common ground with everyone, doing everything I can to save some. 1 Corinthians 9:22