Keeping Christ Out of the Market Place

Earlier today I wrote a post about Hiding Christ from new Agers, intended for here. But, because I have too many blogs, as I discuss at MalcolmDow .com, it was posted to A Reasonable Mystic by mistake. I’m interested to see what my readers there make of it. Anyway, here’s what should have appeared here:

This morning I was reading “My Prayer Journal” in the Victorian Baptist Witness. Part of the diary for Wednesday and Thursday went as follows:

Something interesting happened today. Saw Greg put ‘religion’ and ‘new age’
books together (in the ‘new age’ section). He even put the Bibles there! It
really upset me and I was surprised at the intensity of my feelings. …

Well I spoke to Greg and thank you God, he was really cool about it. It
actually opened up some discussion about my faith. And it felt so natural
talking about it. … he was relieved that I could advise him on what should go
in the ‘religion’ section and what should go in the ‘new age’ section (he didn’t
mind at all when I said they were very different).

There is so much here that I could comment on – the assumed difference between religion and New Age, for example. But considering that this was an issue of the Witness devoted to exploring being a Christian in a secular workplace, I want to look at where the books should have been placed.

Being married to a librarian myself I can understand the desire to have things in the right place. However, given that New Age would definitely fit the criteria for a religion I expect they wouldn’t be far apart. It raises two questions for me. Why would we prefer to put Christian books in a place a New Ager might never look? And why put them where a Christian will never encounter the New Age books?

If we are truly interested in ministry in the marketplace, then we must not hide Jesus from those in the market, while at the same time we need to learn how those in the market think if we are to expect to impact their lives.

The depth of the secular/sacred divide for the person writing the diary might be guaged from the intensity of their feelings when the Christian and New Age books were innocently placed side by side. Should we be offended? Can’t Jesus take care of himself? Where would he be found – hanging around the church or out in the market?

Lots of questions. I’d like to hear some of your answers.

About Mal

Pastor, prayer ministry centre director, theologian, philosopher, musician, radio amateur, electronic engineer, webmaster
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One Response to Keeping Christ Out of the Market Place

  1. Peter Zammit says:

    Hi Mal,
    Found some of your writings in this place. God bless you.
    You are right Jesus was where people were, in the market place, at parties, in the Temple,….at the well at midday? We should not isolate ourselves into some conclave just to keep ourselves safe. There maybe times when God isolates us for a reason. I have been reminded of how one of the E’s Elijah I think (but if it happened to one it probably happened to the other) was lead to a lonely place for a period of time to be fed by ravens.
    The conversation had with Greg reported in The Witness was a good one to have. We could all learn to take opportunities like that one in the workplace and get people thinking and challenge their views in a quiet gentle way. In the end Jesus belongs next to all men and all people and finally all will belong to him and He will be over all.
    For the time being lets put him next to anyone we can.
    Peter

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