Thursday, November 29, 2012

A Validation Culture or Christian Freedom

Colin Cowherd, sports talk guy, has a little phrase that I think is highly accurate.  Today people crave "affirmation not information."  We want people to say things that affirm our particular opinions, and any statement that doesn't line up, whether true or not, is not just... cast off or ignored, but often seen as an attack, as an attempt to persecute. 

You hear this in Sports Talk all the time.  If you were one social media you surely saw it in politics.  It's one of the things that makes discussions about sexuality such a hot topic.  And even amongst ourselves, we can fall into this same trap, where we assume that if someone doesn't validate our thoughts, whims, ideas, actions -- then they are obviously an enemy who thinks ill of us.

We have become in America very much a validation culture - where people must praise our actions or we are offended.  People must make sure not to disrespect us or anything we do in any way, otherwise we will be greatly offended.  Indeed, it is to the point where if someone doesn't do the same things we do -- they are viewed almost as a tangible threat.

Even happens in the Church.  So, Chasuble or no?  Chant or no?  1 year or 3 year?  Yea or nay to birth control?  Liturgy or Contemporary?  Confessional or Missional?  We could add more. And the thing is, it seems to me that we tend to view anyone being on the other side of an issue as a direct threat, simply for not agreeing and validating our own opinion.

Remember the old TLH vs. LW divide?  It didn't seem to work that way.  You had pride - proud TLH congregations, proud LW folks, give each other a hard time.  And that was it.  Even as TLH was threatened to go out of print - eh, so what, we will keep using it and demand will bring it back.

I think we have been slipping into that American Culture of Validation - where we crave, where we need people to agree with us, to tell us we are right, otherwise we feel threatened.  Now, compare this with what Paul writes in Colossians 2:13-19:

And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, 14 by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. 15 He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.
16 Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath. 17 These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ. 18 Let no one disqualify you, insisting on asceticism and worship of angels, going on in detail about visions, puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind, 19 and not holding fast to the Head, from whom the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God.

We are in Christ, we are free.  Let no one pass judgment on you. 

Here we are taught to take a position of defiance against opposition, and yet now we see opposition whenever someone doesn't pat us on the back and tell us what a good boy we are and how brave they think we are.

Be bold.  Be confident in Christ.  Christ has the victory, and thus so do you.  If He says you live, why do you need to worry what anyone else thinks?  Do not seek validation, but rather delight in Christ and His freedom.  We are the people of forgiveness, we are the people free of the debt, we are people who cling to Christ - what validation do we need?

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