Benita Joy is a Malayalee Christian and serves as the Chief Editor for South Asian Connection. She is a woman of faith, gifted in the area of leadership and administration, and has a heart for world missions. Her desire is to live a life that is pure and to serve God's purposes in her generation. Benita is pursuing a double major in English and Psychology at the University of British Columbia. She loves big cities, chai, the internet, roller coasters, international cuisines, music, and hanging out with friends. She is the youngest member of Team SAC, plays guitar with a baby pink pick (Yikes!), and she's not much taller than your average dwarf (don't tell her that).View all articles by Benita Joy
For a number of months and especially these last few weeks, I have been contemplating this phenomenon known as the sacred-secular dichotomy. You might recognize this as the difference between what is labeled as an individual’s spiritual life and life in general, or between what is labeled ‘Christian’ and what isn’t.
Some months back, I was invited to a party hosted by two Christian friends of mine and was told by one, “Beni, don’t be too alarmed, this isn’t a ‘Christian’ party.” This statement somewhat threw me off guard, not because of the statement itself because I’ve heard different versions of that line numerous times in the past, but because these friends are ones I consider leaders in the church and who I assumed professed Christ in every area of their life. Needless to say, I was disappointed.
What exactly is a ‘Christian party’ or a ‘Christian’ this or that? For a follower of Christ, is there an alternative? Is there a point at which one can ‘switch off’ their Christianity, engage in activities that may not bring glory to God, and then once again ‘switch on’ their Christianity when it’s convenient? Is our relationship with Christ, the Savior who laid down His very life for us, a matter of convenience?
The other day I was reading a friend’s post where he mentioned that he was labeled as being a ‘radical’ Christian because he wasn’t satisfied with the nominal, wasn’t interested in the ‘security’ of a nine-to-five job, and wanted to do more with his life than what the average person considers normal. The question he asks, which really goes to the root of what I’m trying to say is this: “Is there any other sort of Christian other than a radical Christian?”
Today, in the church, we serve if we have the time after everything else that we’re busy with, we give if we have anything left after buying all the things we consider important or think will bring us happiness, we leave the witnessing to those who are supposedly ‘called’ or who have the passion to do so. God becomes an afterthought and as my friend John says, “The Gospel which is the power to save is now a hobby and not our life.”
I’ve been told, “Beni, you’re so passionate about God and everything you do for the church and for the youth!” However, I don't consider myself to be anything special. I think every Christian, if they truly understand the dynamic of the cross and the weight of the transaction that took place there, will be just as passionate and just as ‘radical’ about God and His kingdom. Serving God isn’t what I do as a hobby in my spare time, it is the very essence of who I am and the purpose for which I live.
I am a follower of Christ and my life must reflect that truth whether I am working at my job, shopping at the mall, throwing a party, attending classes at UBC, serving in church, hanging out with friends, deciding on a career, choosing a spouse or in any other activity of life. And I won’t need to label all my activities as ‘Christian’ because such labels are unnecessary and rather lame. It is understood that because I am a follower of Christ, everything I do will comply with the standards and values I profess to hold.
If your walk with God is simply a part you play, an act, getting in and out of character is as easy as changing clothes. If it’s who you are, it doesn’t change with circumstance. Don’t fall into the trap that separates the spiritual and the secular. Being a Christian isn’t just a part of who I am—it is who I am.
Kerala Christian Fellowship