Coming out of cultural isolation

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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

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5 Responses to Coming out of cultural isolation

  1. “Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything – all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important.” – Steve Jobs

  2. peter leenheer says:

    Have come to that conclusion as well. Very freeing, but gets peculiar looks from some. No problem.

  3. Mark D Seguin says:

    Love this verse from Today’s Catch: “I try to find commonground with everyone, doing everything I can to save some.” 1 Corinthians 9:22

  4. Gary says:

    My comment to end this week, I hope is one of encouragement, as I and many who strive to encourage other believers and searchers, I get my share of the daily bread, I pray for. The Lord truly speaks through you John and so many of the Catch responders or those give their comment. Tenderly you gab ahold of me and shake me up with your wisdom via the grace the Lord funnels through you and the Catch community. Even with the hope that the Lord could return at any moment, I look forward to next week’s and beyond of what’s on the Catch menu card. Peace and Love to you all.

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