The Church is not called to mediocrity (Part 4 of a 5-part series)

This is the 4th of a five-part series on how the Church can regain its relevance. Click to read Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 5.

In Part 3 we saw that drawing closer to God is accomplished by doing all that we do as though we are doing it for Him.

Let’s expand our focus a bit. If your life would look vastly different if you did everything to the glory of God, how much different would your church, your city, your state … your world … look if large numbers of believers did the same?

We frequently hear of Christians being shunned in their work because of their faith, particularly in the fields of science, media, and entertainment. The latest is a USA Today column by Yale Divinity School’s Communications Director Tim Krattenmaker.

In that piece Krattenmaker implies that those of us who accept Creationism are both anti-science and anti-intellectual. This is where we have come to, and though certainly the continual downward spiral of mankind is partly to blame, in large part the Church has brought this upon itself by frequently proving Krattenmaker right.

Quite often, we are anti-intellectual. Though there are exceptions, professing Christians in general perform at the same level as their peers on standardized tests, in the workplace, and in society at large. In fact, there are many believers who have answered the overwhelming liberalism on university campuses with a resounding rejection of higher education altogether.

That does nothing but make the situation worse. If Christians abandon higher education because those institutions are filled with liberal professors, how is that problem supposed to improve?

Answer: It can’t. But it should. In fact, Christians should be modeling excellence not only in our daily lives, but in the pursuit of truth and knowledge.

Let me pose the following scenario:

Some amazing new discovery is made in the field of genetic research. The media rushes to do a story on it, but they need an expert in the field to add credibility to the story. They call the nearest university science professor and ask for the name of the top expert in genetic research so they can have him or her on the show. Now consider this question:

What if – despite the criticism of our faith, despite the discrimination experienced by scientists from their peers and by Christians at large from the media – what if the top genetic scientist in the world happened to be a believer, and was so good at the job that despite his faith he was considered by everyone to be far and away the top expert in the field?

What if he was so far and away better than the next alternative, the media had no choice but to put him on?

If all believers were to approach their jobs with the goal of glorifying God, that’s the situation outlets like CNN would face.

Don’t believe it could happen? Look at the example of Jackie Robinson.

By now most are probably aware of the discrimination Robinson faced when he became the first black man to play professional baseball in what had up to that point been an all-white league. What Robinson endured was of course inexcusable and unfair, and that’s putting it very mildly.

In the end, Jackie Robinson won baseball fans over for three reasons. First, he was supported by people on the inside who had some measure of influence and didn’t mind using it. Second, he somehow managed to maintain his composure despite the hate that was almost constantly directed at him.

But third – and this is most important – Jackie Robinson won over baseball fans because he could flat out play the game. Run, hit, steal, throw – he did it all, and did it all very well. In time, even some of the harshest critics had to admit he belonged in the game – because he earned it with his level of play.

Was it fair to demand that of him just because of his skin color? Certainly not. But Robinson’s skill, his effort, and his character left his detractors with no choice but to admit he did indeed belong.

The same could happen today for believers, if we showed the same level of skill, effort, and character.

It’s not fair that the world demands that we prove our credentials before accepting our input just because of our faith. But like it or not, that is the world we live in – and the only way we defeat that sentiment is to be so much more knowledgeable  than they expect that they have no choice but to let us participate in the discussion.

But we’re not meeting that standard. In fact, we’re not even close. The bottom line is that believers – like most human beings in our current age – have become lazy. The difference is that we have been called to be better.

We accept mediocrity, though we’ve been called to greatness.

That has to change if we are to ever again be able to enact change in our world.

So, how do we make that change? To find the answer, the final entry in our series will take us back more than 1,000 years.

About the author

Tim Thomas

Christian home schooling father of 4 (plus one), married to the same incredible woman 26 years. Public high school and (current) college mathematics educator 14 years. Former sports writer and machinist. Proud Cruz voter.

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