Youth Culture Guru Walt Mueller who is the President/Founder of The Center for Parent/Youth Understanding notes something when he visits churches, that I have seen as well as I’ve had the opportunity to visit with many different churches in my current work with high-risk youth. There tends to be an emphasis to be Christ’s witnesses to the ends of the earth, but in the process you miss out on Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria. Meaning we have no problem going to a foreign culture, but we tend to have a bunker mentality when it comes to our culture next door. Mueller writes in his article, “The Bunker Isn’t Safe” for YMToday.com:
Every year I have the opportunity to visit and speak at dozens of churches around the United States. Upon my arrival, I try to learn as much as I can about the culture of the church in two ways: I ask lots of questions of my host, and I snoop around the church. I usually arrive on site early enough to set up and have some free moments scanning the bulletin boards, counter tops, and racks in the hallways and foyer. I make it a point to learn as much as I can about the missions commitment of the church. Over the years, I’ve discovered an interesting yet confusing phenomenon. Some of the churches that are most aggressive in terms of world missions are also most timid and fearful about interaction and contact with their local communities. Even though they send missionaries across the globe, they’ve chosen to separate themselves from the culture where they live. As a result, my challenges to them to know the culture of their children and teens are often met with great objections. They believe staying put insures their obedience, purity, and safety. I just don’t get it. Why would they be so concerned about sending out missionaries to reach the world, while at the same time, they cloister themselves from the world at home, all the while assuming that this separation is a sign of spiritual maturity?
Many of us in the Church simply avoid where nonbelievers are and we do so for a plethora of reasons. Do we feed into this? Being a homeschooling parent this is a lifestyle that I have to say is very easy to slide into. I’m thinking through how my family, not just me, be “in the world, but not of it.”