out of place holiness, part three

Bloged in apprenticeship by rod Thursday June 17, 2004

Ok, I’m not trying to be funny here, but I wonder what we can learn even about ourselves by following the developing saga of the Christian exodus from Texas to South Carolina to start a sovereign state and secede from the union.
I think as we get our minds around why those guys seem so strange to us, we may be able to better understand what it means to exercise internal leaving as Greg is pointing out over at Oak Pollination.

I really can’t explain what I mean by this, but I’ve talked before about how I’ve always felt that I’ve grown up in the seams of two generations and while feeling out-of-place, it has afforded me a sort of “outsider’s” vantage to the workings of mindset, worldview, etc. of both generations.
I spent 10 years in grad school where I was always considered among the younger ones. At the same time, I was teaching where I was assumed to be one of the older ones - same thought processes, preferences, etc. Two worlds.
I doubt you can see where I’m going with this, but somehow, sometimes, I feel I’ve got a really clear picture of certain strange concepts that is formed by my own peculiar situation. At times, fleeting moments, I feel I get a glimpse of understanding of living in the world but not of it - that internal flight, within physical presence.

In our paper today, there was a piece about the Texas group who wants to move to South Carolina and secede. There were some very interesting remarks and observations by USC historian Dan Carter. Carter observed that the Amish, though “inwardly focused” are amicable to the outside world.

“But whereas the Amish are not concerned with what’s beyond them, this group is obsessed by it,” Carter said. “(The group) is looking to transform the ungodly.”

Then the comment by Carter that I think gives us reason to take ridiculous notions like a Christian state secession seriously, because of what it causes the world around to see in us.

“Ever since the evangelical movements of the 17th century, we’ve had groups of Americans who are repulsed by worldliness and secularism. But it’s only recently that we’ve seen such groups spew such venom and hatred toward that world.”

I think of Jesus’ prayer for us, that we not be taken out of the world but protected from the evil one. He prayed, “they are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by Your truth: Your word is truth. As You sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. For them, I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.”

God help us when we begin to think that being holy means being of or like the world, but not in it.

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