As I approach the half-century point in my life, I’ve come to realize that there are three breeds of Christians in this world that sum up most, if all of Christendom. You might say there are others, but I found these three are the bulk of the Faith.
In honor of Let’s Make A Deal, we’ve the famed three doors (above), which behind each one is one of the three. I regret Carol Merrill’s not here to open them, so you’ll have to use your imagination.
Behind Door Number 1 is the “Visceral” Christian. You find this breed among Evangelicals and Charismatics-especially in the inner cities, or the “Bible Belt.” This breed is gut-driven and purely emotional. To them, worship is a “get happy” experience where they can “get their shout on” as they get “high” in the Spirit (ref “The Jesus Fix”). They need a steady (and heavy) dose of “praise and worship” that makes them feel good. Any other form of worship outside is eschewed as not being “spiritual” enough. When it comes to the Bible, it’s “God said it, I believe it, that settles it”-they put the “L” in literal. On the flip side however, this kind of Christian is very reactive towards life’s challenges since they don’t like anything upsetting their apple cart; and they’ll usually hide themselves in their beliefs to help themselves feel better.
Next, behind Door Number Two is the “Cerebral” Christian. You find this breed in the more “liberal” denominations; and many are highly educated-usually here in the North in higher income areas. This is the “head”, or analytical kind. To them, worship is a nice and tidy affair of anthems and Classical music, followed by a well put together sermon that they can analyze later on-all within an hour and a half time-frame (including offerings). To them, the Visceral Christians are “childish” and not as refined as they are. Other Christian experiences they view with skepticism. When it comes to the Bible, they have a more liberal/less literal approach to it. Most interestingly, when faced with challenges this breed of Christian will try to “solve” it based on their intellect. However, intellect will give way when the challenges get too much to handle.
And last, behind Door Number Three is the “Integral” Christian. This breed is everywhere, and in every denomination. This is the “heart” Christian, that’s fully engaged in their worship from the center of their very being. These are the mystics-the lovers of the Divine. To them worship is being engaged with the Divine on an intimate level. They can find God in both the sacred and secular settings. They recognize the importance of both the gut and the head in worship alongside the heart. However, the Integrals have more questions than answers at times and will seek within and without the church for answers. To them, the Bible is allegory, a story to be told. In fact, Integrals respect other works from other beliefs as well. When this breed of Christian is faced with life’s challenges, they engage them head on, tapping into the God-given strength they have. Or they will try to find the meaning in the challenges.
Please note these are not complete views, and these are based on my experiences in my Christian road trip. I’ve been each of these to a certain extent at one time or another. Your experiences may be different than mine, and you’re welcome to share them.
Now, back to tonight’s question: What Door Are You Behind? Is it Door Number 1-Visceral? Is it Door Number 2-Cerebral? Or, is it Door Number 3-Integral?