I would say that cutting edge Christianity is the only real Christianity out there. It's not the stuffy, stuck up variety with which all Christians are, it seems, automatically compared and associated. When this happens, I get really pissed off.

I consider myself and would validate others as Christian when they show it in their lives, when they do what they were supposed to do instead of becoming petty, gossiping, hard-hearted assholes that the world seems to take them for.

Some attributes I would list for cutting edge Christianity:

Respect for other people's beliefs instead of condescending to them.

Opening of your heart and home to those who need shelter, not just to those who look like good charity cases.

Exemplifying Christian characteristics but not professing perfection.

Being in the world and avoiding tribalism.

I know Christians are annoying, but I'm a Christian and I hope I'm not annoying. I don't like most of them myself. Some of them actually are trying to do as they are supposed to, and even if I may not be the best example, I do try. Just keep that in mind when you slam Christians, and if you must, at least show that you have educated yourself on both sides of the issue. We're not all inbred hicks.

The entire concept of "Cutting Edge Christianity" is rather filled with irony, from a sheerly semantic standpoint.

For instance, "Christian" is a term that the Jewish church used to mock followers of Christ, that the church wound up taking on simply because it worked so well as a common label, and it stuck. Therefore the name itself is anything but cutting edge, especially since, from a common understanding of what it is to be Christian, at least in America, its ideals have little to do with its founder, Jesus Christ.

Being that everything about Christ's activities during his three year ministry leading up to his death and subsequent ressurection was completely counter-culture, to the point of being unfashionably so (to the degree that he often made moves within his own standards of spiritual philosophy that actively turned away disciples, because they weren't hard core enough) that even today, many people never really get close to them, the concept of cutting edge is almost a joke. It's sort of a "how close can we edge to these principals without losing ourselves to the true concept?"

Because, quite honestly, unless you happen to be Mother Theresa or John Wesley or any number of other totally dedicated, driven, passionate individuals who threw their entire life into serving God in a manner so over-the-edge that it changed the world, you're nowhere near the edge.

And everybody else just disappears. Which is fine, truly. When you hit that point, that edge...what the rest of the world thinks of you really doesn't matter anymore, except insomuch as you are having a positive influence on the culture directly around you.

Some important things to realize about Christ's message, about being cutting edge...most churches have so institutionalized the message that it's become about a number of things: 1. the number of warm bodies regularly inhabiting the building that choose to claim membership and hopefully donate funds, and 2. keeping people out of hell.

There are occasional bones tossed to charity and the like, but for the most part, that's too expensive, both in time, money, and personal respect for most people to do much other than put a buck in the offering plate or throw an old pair of pants into a box in the lobby at Christmas.

There's a lot more to being a Disciple than a "get out of hell free" card, but a lot of Christians stop there. They've got a family to raise, jobs to work at, a home to buy, cars to pay off, student loans to liquidate, kids to put through college, etc. Life gets in the way.

The issue is...as before, Christ really isn't looking for people to come be disciples unless their hearts are truly in it. If your life comes first, if your job is really Lord of your life...then yes, you may be escaping the fires of hell, but that's about all that you're doing. Your call.

Within those minor walls, cutting edge means that your worship is contemporary, your messages are of a "seeker" nature, meaning that they're toned down for easy access by folks who have never opened a bible, and really don't know what the whole "Christian" thing is about anyway, other than a really gory movie by Mel Gibson. There's likely some manner of multi-media push in there too, as well as an investment in cell-groups.

There's even a church in California that has its major services at a rave once a month. Following the rave, there is free food, and a service. People do not have to stay for the service, but they're welcomed to.

Following the service, people are split off into small groups, or cell groups, and they continue to actively learn and worship in those small groups for the rest of the month, with a leader pulling them together every weekend for major devotional infusions. This makes sure that people who aren't Christians at all get some sort of small, intensive group where they can get attention and have questions answered, and spend time with people who care for them as friends, rather than ditching them at the end of Sunday service.

In other words, they have formed a community, which is something many churches strive for, but often can't quite reach due to size considerations.

John Wesley's model for the Methodist Church is regaining popularity in some circles...with small groups being the start of the church, members are people who 1. are solidly a part of a small group, 2. take part in the workings of the chruch, 3. are actively in the bible and prayer every day, and 4. are working to reach out to others, both through charity and sharing of both lifestyle and word.

Lots of investment there. There's a focus on Christ as Lord, a lifestyle change and commitment. The job is no longer first...but neither is the Church, necessarily.

The other side of the "cutting edge" issue tends to go over into moral issues, which are increasingly alien in today's humanistic, post-modern culture. Liberal Christianity often requires, it seems, for Christians in an apologetical mood to agree with everything the rest of the world says for fear of offending somebody, while simultaneously venting the constant "peace and love" gospel which has little basis in the bible, at least in its lukewarm form.

The problem, to be concise, is convincing people that human beings have worth. At its heart, what Christ says is that the only things that are eternal are human souls. The only thing worth investing enormous amounts of time, resources, and energy into, is other people. God created people, and as a result, they have meaning, they have worth, they are reality. Not standards, not social standing, not material wealth...and certainly not pets. People.

If other people are the true focus of Christianity... not just saving their souls, but improving their lives (thus the commandment to look after orphans, widows, the poor, the sick, the destitute...), then a cutting edge Christian has to not only spread the word, but actively live it. Living the word isn't a list of do's and do-not's. Love is the prime rule of the bible, especially focused in the New Testament. Love says that if I see somebody with a need, and I can fill that need, then I should. Love says that everybody I meet is my brother, or my sister, and I would not let my sister destroy herself, I will not let my brother starve, I will not let my sibling live in loneliness and despair because they are not hip, attractive, or of my social standing.

If Jesus is my Lord, who gave Himself that I might have life eternally, and life more abundant here on earth, then aren't I then bound, by accepting that Lordship, to do the same with my life, for those around me?

And as awful as the cross was, many of us would likely rather be crucified and die within a day or two than spend life without the material possessions we'd like, the jobs we dream of, etc.

There's the things we do to make our churches more attractive...and then there's the way we choose to sacrifice ourselves to change our cultures for the better. Both are cutting edge. Only one is really getting the message down straight.

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