George Barna describes a “tribe” of religious people in American today:
Casual Christianity is faith in moderation. It allows them to feel religious without having to prioritize their faith. Christianity is a low-risk, predictable proposition for this tribe, providing a faith perspective that is not demanding. A Casual Christian can be all the things that they esteem: a nice human being, a family person, religious, an exemplary citizen, a reliable employee – and never have to publicly defend or represent difficult moral or social positions or even lose much sleep over their private choices as long as they mean well and generally do their best. From their perspective, their brand of faith practice is genuine, realistic and practical. To them, Casual Christianity is the best of all worlds; it encourages them to be a better person than if they had been irreligious, yet it is not a faith into which they feel compelled to heavily invest themselves.
People much like this are confronted by Elijah in 1 Kings 18. We learn:
- Casual Christians do not like risk. They love undisturbed lives. They attempt to blend in rather than stick out. Elijah was unfazed by risk. He left himself no “fall-back” position. If God did come through, he was sunk.
- Casual Christians value tolerance. They accept every belief system.
- Casual Christians equate activity with spirituality. Stay busy. More about doing than being.
- Casual Christians pray bland prayers. They pray generically and ambiguously rather than specifically. Their prayers are almost always answered this way…even if nothing really happens.
- Casual Christians do not expect or want to see God’s power. The supernatural makes them uncomfortable. They value the predictable and the safe.
How many of these casual characteristics do you see in yourself? Enough to make you uncomfortable?