Friday, February 08, 2008

Christianity Today magazine sends out an online version which arrived this morning. One link connected me to an article by Tim Stafford, "This Samaritan Life."

Starrord responds to the suggestion that American Christians often behave as if they are living in Jerusalem when in fact, they live in Babylon...or, more precisely in his view, in Samaria. Hmmmm. The article is very insightful about church history, the enlightenment, post-modernity, and how to live out our faith "in Samaria."

I would highly recommend reading the entire post: It's fairly long but definitely worth the read.

Here's the opening...

"Denis Haack, who critiques films, books, and music on his Ransom Fellowship website, says that Christians often act like they live in Jerusalem. Not so, argues Haack—we live in Babylon, as aliens and strangers. Why, therefore, are we surprised when we see a movie that offends our values? Babylonian movies reflect Babylonian values, not Christian ones.

I liked Haack's point, but I had a nagging sense that he was missing something. Eventually I figured out what: We don't live in Babylon. We live in Samaria.

Babylon is far from Jerusalem and doesn't know much about its religion. What you believe or how you worship is of little significance to Babylon, so long as you keep the peace and contribute to civic life. Daniel and other Jewish exiles did. They got in trouble only when they were perceived to undermine the government or got caught up in petty politics.

It's different in Samaria. People there know plenty about Jerusalem's religion (though some of their information is distorted), and have a definite grudge against it."

Don't read it if you prefer to live in blissful (but dangerous) ignorance of what's happening in the culture.

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