Isolation or Vena Cava Heart Filter?

[Part 2]

We left our heroes—Luke, Leia, and Han Solo—with the worshiping, childish, primitive, Freudian Ewoks.  Thankfully (a phrase not to be confused with thank God, which implies a personal deity), sophisticated Luke Skywalker knows how to tap into the impersonal force, which just so happens to resemble the teaching of Siddhartha Gautama, i.e. Buddha.

Now we must face the galactic question: “Do we boycott Star Wars and isolate ourselves from Freudian Buddhism, or do we implant a spiritual vena cava filter so that death clots from Star Wars do not reach our hearts?”  The answer is determined by the condition of the patient.

Some Christians are not strong enough to handle any exposure to the world.  When I first got saved, I isolated myself from everything contrary to my new faith.  I burned my Alice Cooper records and went to Famous Barr, which is now Macy’s, and brought a gospel album, which are now MP3.

I knew as a Christian I couldn’t continue to listen to Alice Cooper, Jimi Hendrix, and Joe Cocker.  My new spiritual heart just couldn’t take it.  So, I thumbed through the albums in the very small gospel section and found one with the picture of a young man with long hair sitting in a church pew.  The church was empty, and he looked lonely.

I identified with the lonely long haired guy on the cover of the album.  When I saw the name of the artist, I didn’t recognize the name of George Beverly Shea.  At that time, I didn’t know who Billy Graham was, much less his song leader.  All I knew was that the Beverly part of his name stood out. I thought, “Beverly Shea.” Then I thought, “I’m exchanging Alice Cooper for Beverly Shea.”

The summer before I got saved, on my eighteenth birthday, I listened to Alice Cooper sing, “Eighteen and I don’t know what I want.”  Now I was listening George Beverly Shea sing a rousing rendition of Further Along We’ll Know All About it.  They were both addressing the same existential question of what is the meaning of life.  But they sounded really different.

It’s a long journey from Alice Cooper to Beverly Shea.  But it was a journey I had to make for my fragile heart condition.   I put myself in isolation from my old dope smoking buddies, acid rock, and everything else that was part of my subculture.  I attended church with a bunch of weird people, who probably feared I would corrupt the “church kids.”

Church kids are the uncool kids, who are like Mini-Mes of the church lady.  If that doesn’t make sense to you then practice what Paul wrote to Timothy: “Consider what I say, and may the Lord give you understanding” (2 Timothy 2:7).  If that doesn’t help, google “church lady.”

There’s nothing cool about church kids, Christianity, or you if you follow Jesus Christ.  I am a second generation cool, but I gave it up to follow Jesus.  Buddy Holly, Marilyn Monroe, and Elvis were first generation cool.  The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, and Alice Cooper were second generation cool.  That’s my generation.

Since then other generations of cool have come along, and cool is the one multi-generational standard of culture.  That’s why the word “cool” survived, and great phrases like “Far Out” and “I can dig it” did not pass to the next generation.  If you said those phrases today, you’d date yourself.  But if you say, “Cool,” everyone digs it, man.  Ooph!

To follow Jesus, you must isolate yourself from cool.  Your heart isn’t strong enough to handle it.  That may sound legalistic, but legalism is better than what some “cool” Christians have.  Their heart of faith is so weak that if they catch a worldly cold their faith dies of exposure.

The patient must be isolated until he or she is strong enough to handle exposure to the world.  Isolation, though, is not intended to be indefinite.  I know it’s hard to convince Christian parents of that but prolonged isolation weakens the patient.  For the immune system to grow strong there is a need for exposure that doesn’t kill.  This is where a biblical worldview can serve as a spiritual vena cava filter that protects the heart.

But what is a biblical worldview?  The Puritans thought they were being biblical when they hung four Quakers in Boston.  Catholics believe that medieval Europe was the apex of Christendom.  Calvinists think they have a cultural mandate to change the world’s systems.  Evangelicals separate their devotion to God from cultural engagement.  What about you?  What’s your biblical worldview?

Biblical worldviews are as diverse as Christians.  So how do we determine a biblical worldview?  To that we must… [to be continued]

Michael Peters

About the Author:

Michael Peters

Dr. Michael Peters is the lead pastor of Christ the King: He is married to Linda, and they have two children and seven grandchildren. Dr. Peters graduated from Covenant Seminary with an MA and obtained a PhD in historical theology from Saint Louis University. He has written several books. His most recent is titled Cell Vision. It’s about organic discipleship and how to develop supporters into disciple makers. He taught critical thinking and Biblical worldview at Missouri Baptist University. His favorite course textbook was Closing of the American Mind by Allan Bloom. His favorite philosopher is Nietzsche because postmodern people are just catching up with premodern Nietzsche. And his favorite Christian writer is G.K. Chesterton because he understood the difference between a poet and theologian. “The poet,” he wrote, “only asks to get his head into the heavens. It is the theologian who seeks to get the heavens into his head. And it is his head that splits.”