The Christian bubble is a safe place. It’s hopefully a friendly place, a loving and supportive one. The Christian bubble is generally made of friends who attend church, be it ours or another. It’s a bubble, because, well it’s our little piece of the world. No one else really enters it, no one being, no one than other Christians. It’s an easy place to be.
But the Christian bubble is an exclusive place. Not everyone can be part of it. If they support same sex marriage, they’re not invited. If they drink (like more than a single nonjudgmental glass of wine) on the weekends, they’re not allowed. If they’re sleeping with their boyfriend/another person other than their partner, they’re not acceptable. If they challenge your safe, conservative life – yes, the one that we think the bible calls us to live – they’re generally not in our Christian bubble.
Yes, the Christian bubble can pretty much be adapted to any religion or interest group. People are naturally attracted to people like them or with the same interests as them. We set rules around who can sit with us and who can’t. We like to catch up with the people we like, to build relationships. We prefer to become better friends with someone than get a new friend. The latter is the harder option.
Jesus does not call us to love safe, exclusive, conservative lives. We’re called to live radically – radically different for the sake of the gospel.
We’re called to be radically different, because our lives should not be exclusive. They should be inclusive. We should be looking to the periphery to see who’s around. We should be putting ourselves in situations where there are people who are not like us. And I’m not talking about people who are boring, non-pub visiting, non-swearing goody-two-shoes. I’m talking about surrounding ourselves with people who do not know about the amazing love their creator has for them. Who do not know the overwhelming hope that Christ can bring their lives. People who have no sense of the stability that comes from knowing God is one our side. People who are dealing with heartbreak, sickness and loneliness without any relief. These people need to hear the gospel, and the reality is, they’re probably not going to just show up to church one week.
It’s not the 18th, 19th, or even the 20th century anymore. Less than 10% of Australians go to church each
week month Source.
We have been charged with going out to find these people. Remember the great commission in Matt 28, Acts 1)? We have the gift of the Holy Spirit to enable us to share the gospel to all people.
But what does bursting our bubbles look like?
It’s hard. It’s messy. It’s tiring. It’s inconvenient.
It looks like deciding to spend two hours with our nonchristian colleagues outside of work – that’s where the relationship building happens. If we’re talking about Jesus at work, we’re probably not doing our jobs to our best ability.
It looks like joining a sports team, and being the kind one – the one who doesn’t grumble at the ref when they make the wrong call (Okay – I totally struggle with this one!). And then openly talking about our faith. Actions are rarely enough.
It looks like looking around at church for the person who hasn’t been there before, abandoning our desire to speak to our Christian friends and making a new friend.
It looks like doing more than working in our safe Christian organisation, school, church, uni group and sharing the gospel with our students, teaching the bible to Christians and/or praying and paying for the missionaries.
We are all the missionaries. Our Christian bubbles don’t protect us from the world, they make us neglect the people of this world.
Last night at bible study we were talking about missional churches. We agreed our church wasn’t very missional, there were pockets of missional activities, but on the whole our service was conducive to people already comfortable with church. Not so much the visitors, be it other Christians or the oh so very rare individual who wandered off the side street, up that dark footpath and into our mid-19th century pew-filled building. Many in the group revealed we probably aren’t ‘sticking around’ for much longer and that being inclusive was low on the agenda. But the reality is the church is more than the geographic location in which we gather with other Christians each week. The church is the body of believers across our globe. As a group of believers, we should be looking to connect (not correct!) with others. And that looks like thinking beyond our own personal circumstance (and plans) and our own intentions – as frightening, inconvenient and tiring as it is.
How many friends do you have who don’t know Jesus? Name them.
When was the last time you spoke at length with someone who disagreed with you on matters of faith?
My number for both answers is way too few. How did you go?