One of my favorite Christian artists is rapper Lecrae. In one of his songs off of his Rebel album, there is a brief interlude that sounds like an excerpt from a sermon. The preacher proclaimed that following Christ was the only type of rebellion left. Several years back I realized how true that statement was.
The year was 2009 and I was a healthful living and freshman focus teacher at a high school in Durham, NC. I had already been at the school for two years and had been teaching the freshman focus class for the same length of time. The course was designed to be a life skills class where we discussed the skills necessary to survive during high school and thereafter. We also discussed important social issues. During one assignment, students interviewed each other and discussed their culture. To my surprise, in this little town nestled in the middle of the so-called Bible belt, the overwhelming majority of the students did not attend church. Even more shocking was the pride with which they announced it. It was difficult for me to watch student after student denounces Christianity and to see how their classmates supported them. It was almost as if they felt that they were rebelling against something. One student stated that they would not conform to any type of Judeo-Christian way of thinking. Although I thought it was pretty cool that a 14-year-old used the term, Judeo-Christian, I was still somewhat disturbed. I kept my composure and remained impartial but I still remember that day.
These students actually felt as if the entire world was Christian and that they were somehow being different by denouncing Christian values. Perhaps they were deceived by misleading Gallop polls that indicated that some 40% of Americans attend churches on a weekly basis. Even with this extremely high estimate their aversion to Christianity still fits with the mainstream way of thinking, 60% according Gallup. Then when you factor in more accurate calculations of church attendance which place the number at under 20%, we realize that these students were doing the exact opposite of rebellion. They were going with the flow and marching to the same tune as over 80% of the population.
Television and movies have done a great job at painting a picture of an American society that is overly religious and led people to believe that to be an individual you have to go against traditional Christian valued. The fact of the matter is that America has always been a mostly pagan nation. In the early years of the country false ideas of the faith led to many atrocities and even though the majority of the country claimed Christianity very few lived a life that modeled Christ. In times past it was difficult to see how far the country had missed the mark because just about everyone claimed to be a Christian. It was not uncommon to try to justify sin with scripture taken out of context. Now it is a badge of honor to go against the Bible.
I still believe that America is the greatest country on earth but we have a warped idea of what Christianity is. Scripture tells us that we will know the type of tree by the fruit it produces. If a tree produces apples, then it is an apple tree. If a tree produces oranges that make it an orange tree and so on. It should be the same concept with Christianity. If I am a Christian my fruit will resemble the fruit that Christ produced. I will be humble, I will be loving, I will be selfless and I will seek the highest moral standards. But it seems that we are willing to call a tree that produces only oranges an apple tree if some of its claims fit my personal ideology.
If I am anti-Christian and I see a televangelist making outrageous unscriptural claims I will say that person represents Christianity even if this individual produces no fruit worthy of Christ. On the other end of the spectrum if I am a Christian and I agree with someone’s political perspective I may claim that they are a Christian even if none of those perspectives produce the fruit of the Spirit.
A true rebel is neither democrat or republican, they are a Christian and everything that comes with it. They refuse to go with the flow. These days all media is mainstream media and the one thing all media has in common is that it will convince us that by doing this or believing that, we are now marching to the beat of our own drum. Watching CNN or Fox News does not make anyone a free thinker but they will lead us to believe that we are. Both outlets approach topics with an agenda and by consuming everything they feed us we become just like millions of others speeding down an interstate going in the wrong direction. Romans 12:2 tells us not to be conformed to this world but to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. How do we renew our minds? The answer is simple but comes in two parts. First, we have to consume the word of God (not liberal or conservative blogs). The next step is found in the wording of Romans 12:2, be transformed. The wording implies that we are being acted upon. What is acting upon us? Well, none other than God’s Holy Spirit. In this day and age, the only way to rebel against the culture is to be transformed by the Word and the Spirit