A Question I Was Asked:

'Are Some Christians Too 'Narrow' in Their Worldview?'

My Response:
I'm afraid that some Christians are indeed too 'narrow' in their worldview. Christians should indeed avoid 'worldliness' - that is, to avoid getting drawn into this world's standards of behaviour, faulty reasoning, and morality; but a few seem to take it too far and seem to wear 'blinkers' (like a frightened horse wears to avoid the animal seeing sidewards and perhaps taking fright). A few seem to be against most everything. Back in my old extremist days, before I fully understood Justification by Faith, I fellowshipped with a group and we had a men's speaking club, the whole idea was to prepare the men for public speaking, it was a great idea, but sometimes we all had to comment on general topics, and things currently in the news, and I soon noted that most of them were very unaware and had little understanding or knowledge of current topics. It is bad if we are asked questions about our faith and it soon becomes obvious that we are generally unknowledgeable - believe me, people do notice. People take more notice of our comments when they feel they are speaking to somebody who is a seasoned observer of modern society, rather than a negative person who shuns everything and seems to be against everything - no matter what it is.

As an example of this sort of thing, many years ago I heard a fundamentalist-type minister say this,

"I know classical music is bad for Christians because it depresses me. If it does that, it must be from Satan."

Ouch!! I'm afraid that that assertion is just a little idiotic - it falls down on several levels. Many Christians, in fact, find much classical music inspiring and uplifting - does not mean that you have to like all of it. If the minister who made that comment had been pressed, I'm sure there were many pieces of classical music he actually liked. Personally I cannot conceive of it being any other way, although I must admit to being a big music-lover. Once heard somebody else say, "Jazz is not for Christians." My response would be, Why not? If you have never listened to jazz, listen to some, it cannot harm you and you may find that you enjoy it (as, to be frank, I often do). The only exception I would make in this general area is where some pop music has nasty, vicious or indecent lyrics: that is obviously bad, especially where it is the sort of thing that kids would listen to.

I also once knew somebody who used to say,

"Plays and drama are evil because people are acting and if they are acting they must be lying."

Again, I do not accept that. There is nothing wrong with great drama. The big problem is that television and Hollywood movies give people trash - that is not great drama! Great drama was written by people like Ibsen, Shakespeare, Tolstoy, Charles Dickens and many others. That may sound like a bit of a 'heavy' list but I would also include people like John Steinbeck; he wrote 'Grapes of Wrath' and 'Of Mice and Men' - great novels. 'Grapes of Wrath' was turned into one of the greatest Hollywood productions that I ever saw, that was the 'old Hollywood' - but I have a problem with modern Hollywood - the whole slant is now liberal, violent and immoral. One of the tragedies of modern society is that most people are no longer exposed to quality drama. They are encouraged to like the trash, whether it is TV soap operas or indecent or vicious Hollywood productions. But drama is not evil because the actors are "lying" - that is a nonsense. What about the proverbs and parables in the Bible? They have great meaning but the Bible does not lie when it gives them to us (that is, since they are 'symbolic pictures' rather than being literal events).

There are other ways in which Christians can be too narrow: Somebody once told me about a Christian who never missed a service in his church. An unexpected opportunity to travel overseas suddenly came up. He turned it down. The reason? Because he had never missed a tithe to his church and, as he said, "I'm sure not going to start now." Now, on one level, one may respect and admire such an individual, but on another level, I have to say that I think he was completely wrong! All Christians should do a little travelling if the opportunity comes up. One can learn huge lessons by observing how other believers in other countries function and live their lives, and one can have great experiences in seeing some of the great things in this world: the beauty of Florence, the beauty of Vienna....it goes on and on. Now travel is not everything and I myself have not travelled too much but if the chance comes along, take it. Tithing is not a legal requirement anyway; Christians may indeed contribute to their local church but should never see it as a legal thing which has to be carried out, to the penny, year in - year out. That would certainly be a legalistic understanding.

This world is a big, big place - I like to see Christians develop a very wide focus, it can be good to 'think outside of the box' a little. There is much more out there apart from just one's local congregation and one's local scene.
Robin A. Brace. June, 2008.