Sunday, March 14, 2004

I finally finished Roaring Lambs! I've been putting off my reading for quite some time it feels like a shame really. But anyway, this book is one of a series of books I'm studying right now with regards to the needed participation of believers everywhere in popular culture (this started with a discussion between me and some friends some years back, resulting in the establishment of an artists' support group and a serious study of the role of arts in evangelism).

Bob Briner was right on track with this book where he demolishes the idea that only those Christians who go into full-time ministry are the only ones worthy of support:
What a shame that so many of us feel sort of in a fog between our faith and our careers. I am convinced that most Christians have no idea about the possibilities of being lambs that roar—of being followers of God who know how to fully integrate their commitment to Christ into their daily lives ... I was taught how to be a lamb, but I was never taught to roar.

I'm writing this book because I think that it's time for more lambs to roar. It's time for believers to confidently carry their faith with them in the marketplace so that our very culture feels the difference. I'm writing to parents and ministry professionals with the prayerful hope that they will begin more intensely and systematically to teach and model the reality that every one of us is called to be a minister in our own corner of the world. I am writing with the hope that the dichotomy between professional Christians and Christians in the professions will be greatly lessened. I'm writing with the hope that every reader will better understand how to carry out the scriptural admonition to be a salt in a world that so desperately needs a preservative. I am writing with the hope that Christian young people will choose careers and professions that will place them in the "culture shaping" venues of our world.

But before everything else he gives out a warning that we shouldn't go through this alone without getting a clear answer from our Lord and Master. He admonishes all would-be world changers to first "immerse our wills and desires so completely in the mind of Christ that we become extensions of His ministry to mankind," and there's no better way to do this than to start our journey on our knees or else "our ambitions will get in the way."

Then he lays down the premise of a society that's so estranged from Biblical ideals that it either cringes from the mere mention of Jesus, stares dumbfounded at you if you ask them about "salvation by grace" or gets furious at you for religious bias when sharing the Gospel with them. When we get these common reactions we either thumb our noses at them, deny it's happening, or we don't even try to share anything at all. But whether we like it our not the Culture War is real and it is happening right now. Society in general is sinking ever increasingly and traditional ethics, as dictated by the media, is going down the drain. People are being fed with pornography, increasing violence, the joys of drug abuse, and other stuff which we wouldn't think 10 years ago as something normal. The Church has abandoned her role as light and salt to the world as was commissioned by Jesus 2,000 years ago. People don't usually listen to us Christians because all we ever do is be critical of everything we see. Least of all, we don't offer any alternatives to fill the vacuum.
Remember, our job as Christians is not primarily to protest, but to proclaim. To be roaring lambs for God. Paul said to the Colossians: "Naturally, we proclaim Christ. We warn everyone we meet, teach everyone we can, all that we know about Him so that we may present everyone at his full maturity in Christ" (1:28 Phillips).

Imagine the million possibilities that could happen if we launch our best writers, actors, poets, directors, producers, painters, musicians, and the lot into the secular field with the blessings of the Church, imagine how much good they could do. Imagine them turning the world upside-down with radical ideas and experimentations into new artforms inspired by our Creator (we often underestimate the influential power of the media). As it is, the world is in desperate need of the preserving influence of believers everywhere, the Church shouldn't hinder the members of their congregation who want to venture out in the mission fields of the culturati.
The primary reason that there is so much error and so few Christian alternatives being considered in the ongoing flow of public policy discourse, is that basically evangelical Christians have abdicated. We have left the field. It is almost as if we are afraid to venture out into the world of ideas—to have our beliefs go head to head with those of other beliefs. We say we believe that God's Word relates to all life and has the answers to all of life's questions. Yet we primarily spend our time and energies talking only to each other, writing only for each other, performing only for each other. This abdication has made it possible, even necessary, for evangelical Christians and their beliefs to be interpreted to the world primarily by non-Christians. The fact that almost always get it wrong is our fault, not theirs.

If we're serious about fulfilling the Great Commission, if we are to effectively disseminate the message to this modern world then by all means start planning strategies on how to target the very heart of culture. Nurture those members of your Church that are called to work in the professional fields, and then launch them with prayers and full pledged support as you would full-time Missionaries.
A clear presentation of the Gospel that shows the relevance of Christ to life in today's world will always meet resistance. Many will scoff but, if it is our best work, some will be convinced, some will believe, some will be won. This is what a roaring lamb is all about. It is not about an easy path. It is not about always winning. It is about being there, being where the battle is, where the salt is needed.

A last word to believers who feel they're called to minister in the secular world: Earn the right to be heard! Train yourself to be the best at what you do. If you're called to do so, aspire for greater heights like what pioneer roaring lambs like John Grisham, C.S. Lewis, Charles Schultz, Lifehouse, Sixpence None the Richer, Moonstar88, Barbie's Cradle, numerous Hollywood actors, and professional athletes, like Alvin Patrimonio among others, did. Make a big difference in your chosen field and raise the banner! Just remember, the right to be heard is not confined within the boundaries of fame and recognition but rather with the character that those closest to us see daily.

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