While I haven't been able to really sink my teeth into The Divine Conspiracy, the early chapter has already made a lasting impression on me and made me think alot about the current state of Christianity in the U.S. Willard is convinced that we are too easily satisfied. We settle for superficiality and shallowness in our faith. Few of us have any idea what real discipleship is. Is faith in God through Christ really what we impress on those around us? Is the essence really this Christian sub-culture that pervades American churches? Do you really have to conform to this sub-culture in coming to Christ? What does it mean for an unbeliever to come to Christ in the midst of her or his vocation, family situation, socio-economic situation, and background? Few of us have any idea, because few of us have ever seen anyone come to faith in God through Christ whose background, economic status, family life, and vocation is different than ours.
Ron Sider has a new book called The Scandal of the Evangelical Conscience. The subtitle of the book asks a striking question that I think we should all ask of ourselves, and one that is powerful enough to stand alone in its asking:
Why are Christians living like the rest of the world?
Regarding Sider's work, this book no doubt focuses on the socio-economic standing of evangelicals, but this question encompasses much more than simply economics. If a Christian and a non-Christian are compared side by side, there should be a difference - a visible, recognizeable difference, and there seldom is anymore.