But You’re Part of This World!
“You are in the world but not of the world.”
I feel like so many christians misconstrue this statement. And I’m one of them. But then it hit me straight in the face as I was lying in bed. How many of you have seen The Two Towers? There is an extremely poignant scene that takes place between the Ents and the Hobbits, Merry and Pippin.
The Ents hold an Entmoot, or meeting, to decide what to do about the forces of both Isenguard (Saruman) and Mordor (Sauron). They spend not only hours, but countless days and weeks deciding what to do about it. They argue and argue and waver and waver and finally reach a conclusion: that they will do nothing. That they will compleletely separate themselves from the present situation. Exactly what Christians do. We think that by avoiding R-rated films, violence, cussing, and all other “heretical ideals” that we are protected from them. This is ignorance. Just because you pretend something doesn’t exist doesn’t mean that it won’t affect the world.
When Merry hears the Ents verdict to ignore the battles ravaging and raging throughout Middle-earth he does the most unlikely thing a hobbit would do. This small breed stands up to a huge Ent–a keeper of the forest and keeper of lore. He exclaims emphatically: “BUT YOU’RE PART OF THIS WORLD!”
TREEBEARD: The Ents cannot hold back this war. We must weather such things as we have always done.
MERRY: How can that be your decision?
TREEBEARD: This is not our war.
MERRY: But your part of this world! Aren’t you? You must help. Please. You must do something.
TREEBEARD: You are young and brave, master Merry. But your part in this tale is over. Go back to your home.
PIPPIN: Maybe Treebeard’s right. We don’t belong here, Merry. It’s too big for us. What can we do in the end? We’ve got the Shire. Maybe we should go home.
MERRY: The fires of Isengard will spread. And the woods of Tuckborough and Buckland will burn. And… and all that was once green and good in this world will be gone. There won’t be a Shire, Pippin.
Whether we pretend that violence, abuse, war, death, and pain doesn’t happen or we make ourselves aware of it–these things will still happen. SO instead of distancing ourselves from everything that makes the church what it should be–reaching out to the broken, understanding them–instead of being what the Church as an organization is now–a condemning, hush hush society run by tax collectors–we should step up. And stop pretending that in our perfect little Christian bubble no harm will come to us. More harm will come to us by extracting ourselves. But even worse–more harm will come to the world we should be reaching out to from our own ineptitude and ignorance.
The truth hurts.