“A stock of usual tactics and methods.”
In case you’re wondering, that’s the definition of the word playbook.
AND WE HAVE TO TRASH IT.
No, no… not the word playbook and its definition (those are actually quite handy!). We have to trash our playbook. As in:
WE NEED TO TRASH OUR USUAL TACTICS AND METHODS.
I originally intended to make some sort of really lame joke here (Interestingly enough, ‘really lame jokes’ make up a significant portion of my own personal humor playbook…) like reduce, reuse, recycle, think green, save the whales, and maybe use the recycling bin instead. But I decided not to say anything that might imply that we should rehash, reuse or, God forbid, recycle any of those same tactics and methods.
Before we go any further, I want to pause here and acknowledge who/what inspired me to use a “playbook” approach to this topic. My good friend Ben Denen has a great blog entitled “Leading in the Margins” that is formed around the concept of creating and maintaining a playbook for revolutionary, missional ministry. So… credit where credit is due. Keep up the great work, Ben… I’ll continue to
blatantly plagiarize celebrate your blogging ideas! P.S. I borrowed a cartoon for this post, as well…
Unlike my friend, however, I’m not talking about the ‘ministry’ playbook. The name of the playbook that I’m concerned about is:
The Modern American Christian’s Playbook
for Engaging with the World.
Not our playbook for worship. Not our playbook for teaching. Not our playbook for denominational interaction. I’m only talking about the usual tactics and methods that American Christians use to engage our culture/the world.
I’m concerned because this playbook is full of borrowed ideas and non-biblical dogma. And what’s worse is that a lot of the ‘plays’ in the playbook don’t even revolve around Jesus and his teachings.
Maybe you disagree. Maybe you see something I’ve missed. Maybe I’m the one being self-righteous. By all means, argue with me. Discuss. Ask questions. But, goodness gracious, let’s at least talk it about what we’re doing instead of blindly drinking whatever Kool-Aid we’re handed. The way we present Christ to this world is worth discussing!
Everything is different now…
The very second we let Christ enter our life, this world starts to look different. We see things that were never apparent to us before. As we walk through this world with him, God shows us glimpses of heaven and how great this life can be. And as the choices we make in our lives begin to change because of Jesus (hallelujah!), it’s only natural that we want others to make those same “right” choices.
Unfortunately, we can sometimes make this Christian life more about the choices we are now making instead of the event that precipitated the change (finding Jesus of Nazareth to be the Son of God).
And once we focus more on doing things “right” instead of Jesus, we have a tendency to run one of those questionable plays from the playbook. One of our usual tactics and methods. In fact, it’s one of our favorite tactics… We draw battle lines. We pick an issue and agree collectively that to act, think, or believe differently on THIS ISSUE is a sin. Or is at least very, very bad. It’s worth noting that it may, in some cases, actually BE a sin to act/think/believe differently than what we espouse. But that’s not the problem…
What’s the problem?
Well, the problem with this method/tactic/page from the playbook is that we are engaging with our world (full of unbelievers) over things that we likely didn’t change our own mind about until after we found Christ.
Which means the world at large… all those people who have never met Jesus… all those people that God loves… all some ever see of The Church is just a huge group of people who are very concerned about acting, thinking, and believing the “right” things.
I don’t know about you, but that reminds me of the Pharisees. The super-religious people who went around helping make sure that everyone did things the right way. And then that Jesus guy came along… and you know the rest (hopefully).
So now we draw our own battle lines on various issues. Then sometimes we’ll beat people over the head with our own dogma as they approach.
We are all called to be witnesses. But it sure seems like a lot of people read Acts 1:8 as if we are called to be his prosecuting attorneys.
“…and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
In the next week or so, I plan to look at a few of the battle lines that our playbook tells us to draw. (And I’m still open to suggestions as well…)
Where do YOU see Christians draw battle lines?
Is it needed?
What issues SHOULD Christians engage the world over?
How should we engage our culture?