A lot of you grew up, like me, burdened with the uber rules of a religious household. It was oppressive because parents were afraid of everything, from Dungeons and Dragons to Garbage Pail Kids to the Smurfs, a lot of churchy parents feared the influence of popular culture on their kids.

The simplest answer was to remove pop culture from the home. Whether that meant removing the tv entirely or only allowing kids to listen to “Christian” music, moms and dads tried a lot of different things to keep the influence of the world away from their kids.

There was a massive backlash eventually. After enduring the ever popular condemn-everyone-for-what-they-do-wrong stage, most kids went through a “I’m so authentic in my faith that I don’t shame others or myself into avoiding secular music and television. In fact, I’m going to always be in the know so I can be relevant in my faith for this day and age.”

And it sounds nice, the thought that we could take the judgmentalism out of the child and leave the devotion and faith to simmer in the midst of alternative grunge rock and Ethan Hawk movies.

The problem came with the never ending degrees of compromise. There was never really a safe place to stop experiencing pop culture. So we ended up being identical to pop culture. We dress the same, talk the same, watch the same movies, and talk about the same celebrities on Twitter.

And while it might seem like a virtue that we no longer make everyone feel like they’re going to burn in eternal hellfire for each bad decision they’ve made, our lives are so identical to the rest of the world that whatever ideas or beliefs we might have to share wouldnt’ matter in the slightest to them. After all, why take on the burden of new beliefs and ideas that really don’t change your life AT ALL?

Change that only takes place on the inside is theoretical change. Not REAL change. And change that only takes place in your “beliefs” or your “heart” aren’t worth adopting anyway. You can be just like you are right now, or you can believe what I believe because I say so and STILL live just like you are right now. It’s a decision that offers no point in making it.

There MUST Be A Point To Faith

Faith has to mean something. I know it’a cool and super accepting of you as a person to say that faith is a private personal matter like politics but it’s simply not. Sure, anyone can hold whatever beliefs they choose. That is a freedom and a right. But if they remain the same as everyone else in their behavior and lifestyle, their differences in “faith” are really not very important.

Faith causes us to BE more. And faith causes us to DO more. Not because we’re bad if we don’t. Not because we don’t want to be shameful citizens. But because faith transforms lives. It breathes new life into old weary bones. It opens eyes to new innocence and puts to death old ways of thinking, expecting, and believing.

What we do is the obvious, natural outgrowth of what we believe. So if we behave like everyone else, do we REALLY believe so much different than they do? Or do we just hold onto some different ideas in our minds?

Ideas can be examined objectively. Faith comes from hearing unwavering truth and being convinced on the inside of its veracity. It causes change because Truth means the rules are way different than we used to think they were. And the difference between these rules and those old rules is life changing.

Ideas are interesting. Faith is transformative. Let’s make sure we’re using the right words for what we have.