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Compartmentalized living


I've never served aboard a ship. But, I've eaten several boxes of Cap'n Crunch in my lifetime and do understand some of the dynamics of basic floatation. There's this thing about watertight compartments that keep a vessel cruising even in rough seas. The people who teach stress management push the analogy into life. One way to deal with the high pressure points is to compartmentalize the various aspects of life. This way, what happens in one compartment won't influence what is going on in the others. It's also a way to compromise my Christian witness, to live my faith only within the limits of that one compartment. And, that's just the way champions of the secular worldview want people of faith to live, in quarantine zones. Sadly, even some spiritual leaders have joined the chorus and have marked off places where the Christian witness should be less obvious. Like the political arena, to bullet just one.

It's not biblical, though, this compartmentalized living. There's the salt and light thing Jesus mentioned as one clear illustration of Christian witness. Believers are expected to influence the world around them in a distinct manner. The Good News entrusted to our stewardship is meant to be spoken with boldness and clarity, validated by the truth of changed lives that touch every thing we do. We live our faith, speak it, spend it, keep time by it, pace careers with it, raise families through it, build relationships with it, take it with us wherever we go, even to the voting booth. The Gospel mediates our lives.

Compartmentalization is convenient though, and safe. It may also explain the waning influence of the church is an ever-enlarging secular culture. In just a little longer than a generation the Christian voice has been locked out of public education and policy, retail markets, civic affairs, and in many arenas of domestic life. The oddity of these times is that much of the withdrawal is applauded and encouraged by confessing believers, especially regarding Christian leadership in politics and the election season that launched yesterday. There's a new reluctance to speak to the politics of the day. What drives this silence of the lambs? Several things---

1. Fear of alienating the millennials, our largest population cohort and the group

with the least Christian designation and commitment.

2. The Johnson Amendment and the threat of losing tax exempt status. Of

course, since the Johnson Amendment was adopted in 1954 there has not

been a single prosecuted case against a church making political

endorsements.

3. The danger of offending large groups of older church contributors who are

committed to old style political party definitions. These are dyed-in-the-wool

Republicans and Yellow Dog Democrates who would rather have a root canal

than vote for the other party.

4. Concern that the church will be aligned with a particular political party or

system of governance.

5. A justified belief that the Gospel will be compromised. It's true, governments

cannot fix what is broken in human nature and life. Elections and government

cannot be over emphasized and become the mission of the church.

Google "compartmentalized living" and scroll the 454,000 possibilities that appear in .54 seconds. Even a brief review will note those who advocate the stress relief of living life in differentiated silos. The entries that propose de-compartmentalization are typically those written from a Christian worldview, the conviction that our faith must be evident in every human endeavor, including elections and politics. For me, everything I do is an extension of my faith, including what happens in the sanctity of the voting booth. To do less is a violation of Scripture and my understanding of what it means to be a disciple of Jesus.

Paul wrote it clearly---

And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord

Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Colossians 3:17, ESV

Peter added a note about the openness of this life.

Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak

against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the

day of visitation.

1 Peter 2:12, ESV

Compartmentalized living just isn't consistent with what Scripture teaches about Christian witness in the world.


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