Any brief glimpse of the daily news cycle seems to always feature students at major universities across the country protesting. From the riots at Berkeley to the May Day looting and vandalism that took place in metropolitan cities across the United States, today’s youth seem to be cementing plans for these kinds of events from the war room that has turned out to be the ironically named “safe space”—a place where no offensive language is allowed to be uttered, and only those thoughts that conform to the greater collective mind are allowed to exist.
I know what you are probably thinking…something along the lines of, “Reed what in the world does a safe space have to do with my Christian walk? Are you really about to wade into a political controversy in your first ever blog post?!” Rest assured, faith is so much more than political ideologies or leanings as we as Christians all serve the same King – but the underlying premise of the safe space has the potential to seep into our Christian lives.
Growing up I always had a passion for digging deep into some of the more intricate aspects of my walk with Christ. During my senior year of high school, my small group at Church was tasked with identifying and defending various theological powder kegs such as creation vs. evolution, the inerrancy of scripture, and abortion. During my first few years of college, the greatest point of contention in my walk with Christ witnessed an internal struggle between Calvinism and the Charismatic Movement. This debate raged on within, until I finally decided to retreat into the security of my new-found opinions. The safe space was taking hold!
To further complicate matters, my home university is not exactly the kind of place one would expect to find a vast diversity of opinions. There is a running joke among my classmates that students who often leave campus on the weekends do so in order to escape “the bubble” (aka Christianese for safe space). There probably are a grand total of zero people on my campus that would struggle to at least give a basic definition of what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ.
Into this comfort I retreated, expecting nothing to be able to penetrate my insurmountable fortress of solitude. That was, until my safe space was destroyed.
China was a country unlike anything I had ever experienced. Eastern thought and philosophy permeated every aspect of daily life, not to mention the language barriers and different cultural norms. I was studying for a semester at the University of Shanghai with fellow American students from various universities. At first, the greatest culture shock I had was from my fellow Americans – not the Chinese! I found myself wondering if I had made the right decision in dragging myself across the Pacific and away from the safety of everything that I had come to know and love. Should I turn back? Will I lose sight of Christ? Are my morals headed for the garbage heap?
Not a chance.
When we stretch ourselves and interact with unbelievers, the power of the Gospel comes into true focus. James 2:14-26 talks about faith without deeds leading to death, as verse 26 says, “As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.” Of course every Christian hopefully has some sort of church family to engage and grow with, and this body is an integral part of the Christian life. But Our Lord also said, “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19)—a hard task to accomplish when we constantly reside in a safe space full of mature Christians. The more I began purposefully interacting with non-believers via simple conversations about my faith, the closer I felt to actually fulfilling an often unexplored walk of my relationship with The Lord. Giving up our present safety on Earth only means gaining a much greater one in Heaven—kind of ironic isn’t it?
Destroy your safe space. Fulfill the Great Commission.
The more I began purposefully interacting with non-believers via simple conversations about my faith, the closer I felt to actually fulfilling an often unexplored walk of my relationship with The Lord.