This is going to be a very round about way to get to my point so bear with me!
I’ve mentioned before that I am a member of a sorority. My sorority has a private side to their website where we can connect with other Tri Deltas from around the world. Kind of like a Facebook, I guess, but for members only. I recently received an invitation from one of my sorority sisters from college inviting me to join so I decided I would.
So I was filling out my profile which was pretty easy. Profession, location, languages (I entered “Toddler”), etc. Until I got to the religion section. There was a pull down menu with a whole bunch of choices and I didn’t know what to pick! Protestant isn’t specific enough. Christian definitely isn’t specific enough. Baptist? Well, I was Baptist for a good portion of my life, but I really don’t feel comfortable defining myself as a Baptist any longer. Christian Reformed? I’m a member of a CRC church, but I honestly don’t “feel” like a part of the Christian Reformed subculture and don’t necessarily line up very well theologically. Well enough to be a member but not well enough that I could be an apologist for the denomination. (And I’m not telling tales out of school. My pastor reads my blog.)
So anyway, I picked Christian Reformed since that is the church I am a member of right now. But I haven’t been totally comfortable with that.
And that brings me to the new poll! You knew I’d get there eventually!
David and I have discussed this topic off and on for months and it has to do with our default mode of thinking.
It seems that there are two default modes of thinking among Christians. (And I recognize that I’m generalizing here.)
There is the group who would operate from the default mode of “Come out and be ye separate.” They are more focused on being in the world but not of it. They do not totally withdraw from the culture like the Amish, but they definitely have a view of not embracing too much of the culture. Their first instinct would be to back off from the culture in a situation. I would say this is more the Baptist view with which I grew up although it is definitely not exclusively Baptist. There are many other denominations that would fall into this as well.
The other mode of thinking is what I would call the “Embrace and engage the culture” mode. This is more the idea of really getting involved with the culture and trying to transform it. Their first instinct is to jump in and try to change the situation in which they find themselves. This is very much the mindset of the CRC to which we now belong. It would also apply to other denominations as well and is a very Reformed way of thinking. (BTW… A very interesting and accurate critique of this mindset is here: Why Are There Never Enough Parking Spaces at the Prostrate Clinic. I highly encourage you to read the first half of it at least.)
So David and I have discussed this. His default mode is “Embrace and engage the culture” which makes sense because he grew up in a Reformed denomination. Mine is “Come out and be ye separate.” It is actually a good thing that we approach life differently because it probably has kept us from extreme error in either direction.
We both see the value in each view. I believe each view is biblical when not taken to an extreme. But it was helpful for us to understand how the other reacts to the world on the most basic, instinctive method.
So what is your default way of thinking? Feel free to vote in the poll and leave a comment.