Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
- James 1:27
Christians typically respond to the world in one of two ways. Fundamentalists reject the world and keep themselves as far from the world as possible. Liberals tend to affirm the goodness in the world and accept it hook, line and sinker.
As a church, we love and are engaged with the world. We encourage you to enjoy God’s goodness that he’s giving us through common grace through all of society’s beautiful and creative good. We love Chatham County. We enjoy North Carolina. We’re glad God’s placed us on this planet.
We also hear James’ caution. All that glitters isn’t gold. The world, for all its goodness, contains toxins and pollutants. They will get into our hearts if we are uncautious. And they will spoil our religion.
We walk this fine line between rabid Fundamentalism and naïve Liberalism. We accept that this creates tremendous tension and nuance. We pray for wisdom and courage to navigate life in this beautiful, dangerous world.
We need to develop healthy filters to help us avoid being polluted by the world. These filters will have to take into account not only God’s standards of right and wrong but also our personal histories and areas of temptation. What’s tempting for me may not be tempting for you. We can learn from and support each other even if we’re different.
In what ways do you currently filter out the pollutants of the world? Where do your filters need strengthening and amending? Who can you ask to help you?