Recently we spent several days visiting with my mother- and father-by-law. During our time at their home they broke out all young children’s favorite thing—BUBBLES. My kiddos were elated and ran around the backyard blowing and trying to catch bubbles. What fun!

Then, just a few days ago, my mother-by-law called to chat. She’s had a pretty stressful time of late and was weary when she returned home on this particular day. She said, “You know what I did? I got out the rest of the bubbles and sat in the backyard and blew bubbles—it was very relaxing.”

I think that there are a number of us in the church who have found that relaxing place as well. We’ve built around ourselves a bubble that will allow us to remove the rest of the world and its distractions from our senses, and there we live.

Sadly, it is within this bubble that nothing happens. We have effectively removed ourselves from the world and the world from us. In so doing we have relegated our churches and our faith to extinction. Now, certainly I believe that Christ is able to reach beyond our feeble attempts at perpetuation and make the Church Triumphant triumph—my concern is that we have so wrapped ourselves in our religious expression and so insulated our church from the outside that we have lost the ability to reach them. Ed Stetzer and David Putnam make the suggestion of the modern American expression of church this way:

Many evangelicals live in a “Christianized” world where people listen to James Dobson tell us how to raise our children, consult Ron Blue to understand our finances, sing along with Third Day for musical inspiration, choose political candidates based upon Christian Coalition voting guides, and read Tim LaHaye to enjoy some good Christian fiction. (Breaking the Missional Code, p. 33)

Long time readers will remember that I’ve been hashing through this for several months now (check out the series on Mercenary Christianity and Mainstreaming). But lately, I’ve been plagued by more and more desire to burst the bubble. I am not opposed to Christians being a part of the marketplace, nor do I think that we need to do away with Christian expressions of music, literature or business ventures. What concerns me is that we have phariseed ourselves to the point of removing the legitimacy of any Christ follower who chooses to educate their child outside the religious sector, listen to anything but religious radio, or read a good whodunit. While narrowing the field of exposure for the Christian community, we have also removed credibility among those who need Jesus most—the world outside our religious gates.

Is the bubble really a good thing? Well, I think that we ought to have a retreat to retire to for times of refreshing, but we cannot hermit ourselves to the point of religiously wasted lives.

What do you think? Should we influence the world or set up our own little version of it that keeps them at arms length?