You know that awkward moment when someone gasps, clutches their chest and exclaims, How have you never seen (insert movie title here)? At that moment, the question-asker assumes a position of authority and confidence, while the question-receiver feels a pang of embarrassment and inferiority.
We’re used to these types of interrogations from music or movie aficionados—but should we be used to these kinds of interrogations from “Christian Culture” aficionados? You might be familiar with The Christian Culture Aficionado—they know every new song on Christian Top Hits radio, they’ve already read the new book written by the popular pastor everyone is talking about and they’re usually the one to insert, Did you know they were a Christian? in reference to an actor or athlete when watching a movie or sports game.
Here’s the thing—there is nothing wrong with being a Christian Culture Aficionado! A passion for music, literature and role models that glorify Christ and bring light to our faith is something that should be celebrated. However, we are all on different pages—and it is important to recognize that knowledge and passion of culturally relevant news, people and trends within a faith culture does not necessarily equate to knowledge or passion of the faith itself. And being “in-the-know” doesn’t give a level of authority above those who are not.
If the experience of being out-of-the-loop within Christian culture hits a cord, know that you’re ok:
It’s ok to read your Bible with enthusiasm but not know the name of the latest self-help book from the it-pastor of the moment.
It’s ok to pour your heart into worship on Sunday but not listen to Christian top hits exclusively in your car. You are not lesser-than, and your faith is not less passionate.
And if you live and breathe Christian culture, be thoughtful about how you share your passions.
Instead of You’ve never heard of Bethel Music?
Try, I think you would really enjoy this song by Bethel Music!
Ultimately, it’s about more than Christian music and the latest inspirational Christian book. It’s about an attitude of humility and thoughtfulness within a community of believers who are all in different places on their journey—and who all carry a unique story.
It applies to Biblical literacy—the person next to you in your new Bible study or small group might be a new Christian, making their way through the Bible for the first time or just learning the words to a song that you’ve been singing since childhood.
Instead of, Of course, you know what Jesus said to the disciples in Luke 12…?
Try, There is a moment when Jesus speaks to the disciples in Luke 12 that I love. It’s when he says….”
Let’s resolve to be thoughtful about our words and how we share them—about how much weight we put on our own trivia retention and importance we place on our self-achievements, even if it’s as unintentional and seemingly harmless as listing off the top 5 Christina hits of the month. Let us resolve to be humble about who we are before God and others—pointing to Jesus in all we do and say.
In “Mere Christianity,” C.S Lewis writes about humility:
To even get near [humility], even for a moment, is like a drink of cold water to a man in a desert.
Do not imagine that if you meet a really humble man he will be what most people call “humble” nowadays: he will not be a sort of greasy, smarmy person, who is always telling you that, of course, he is nobody.
Probably all you will think about him is that he seemed a cheerful, intelligent chap who took a real interest in what you said to him…
He will not be thinking about humility: he will not be thinking about himself at all.
To do that is to point the way to Christ.