Saturday, February 09, 2008

This Samaritan Life
How to live in a culture that is vaguely suspicious of the church.

Tim Stafford

Denis Haack, who critiques films, books, and music on his Ransom Fellowship website, says that Christians often act like they live in Jerusalem. Not so, argues Haack—we live in Babylon, as aliens and strangers. Why, therefore, are we surprised when we see a movie that offends our values? Babylonian movies reflect Babylonian values, not Christian ones.

I liked Haack's point, but I had a nagging sense that he was missing something. Eventually I figured out what: We don't live in Babylon. We live in Samaria.

Babylon is far from Jerusalem and doesn't know much about its religion. What you believe or how you worship is of little significance to Babylon, so long as you keep the peace and contribute to civic life. Daniel and other Jewish exiles did. They got in trouble only when they were perceived to undermine the government or got caught up in petty politics.
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