Nature vs. Nurture in Christian Discipleship

Here is what I have been thinking about recently:

I have been thinking about the nature vs. nurture debate/discussion/dichotomy that has been applied to any number of societal conditions, norms, or problems.  Well, actually I was thinking about applying that idea to what I sense has happened in some regard in my own heart and in the church, and I wonder…

As Christians, we recognize that our nature is a sin nature.  Naturally, we reject God and war against his commands.  Naturally, we fight for the supreme place with God.  Naturally, we think of ourselves first and then we might get around to thinking about others.  You get the picture.  We also know that Christ brings a change of heart/nature by His work on the Cross (2 Cor 5:17 – “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.  The old has passed away; behold the new has come.”).  Finally, as Christians, we are placed in a new environment (the church) for our new life to be nurtured.

So, here is the question that has been rattling in my brain:  what happens when our Christian nurture (what I think of as discipleship) is actually contrary to our new nature in Chirst?  What wins, so to speak?  Maybe an example of what I am thinking would be helpful…

I hate politics, though I believe they are an important part of our system of government.  I hate politics because so little of the words, claims, or accusations are helpful or about anything meaningful.  But more than that, I hate my reactions (and the reactions of others).  A good friend, who does like politics, has been given the finger and menancing stares recently driving around and the only reason he can figure is because of the political stickers on his work van.  This is disheartening to me, but even more than that, my own gut-level reactions toward political parties, entities, and supporters is disheartening.  To bring it back around to the original question:  has my attitude of self-righteousness been nurtured in the church (as a pastor, what I have taught others)?  And more importantly, am I willing to react first in compassion toward those whom I disagree or even dislike instead of some political or “Christian” compulsion? Is my identity a color (red or blue) or a Person and do others know it?

This is my prayer: that compassion and love borne out of relationship with the King would be my guide as I see, react, and respond to our politicized culture.  And, that I would nurture in others the same, rather than a political identity that becomes too closely identified with the Christ’s Church.

So that is what I am thinking and my thought may not be fully formed (that’s my disclaimer!).  Am I onto something or am I off-base?  Hey, I’m just starting a conversation…


2 responses to this post.

  1. Yes you are on to something. I’m just not smart enough to help out with this topic.

    I hate politics too, but about this time I always get into it…big time. The crazy thing is we as a country are split right down the middle. These are core beliefs that we differ so much in as a nation. I mean, split down the middle…50/50. I’m scared where we are headed. Yet, if the party I vote for wins the White House then the other half of the country will be scared where we are headed also. Crazy to think about it. It is a moral and even spiritual difference.

    Sorry, I got off topic…I’m done.


  2. Posted by adamtisdale on September 25, 2008 at 10:41 am

    Bop: Thank you for sharing your thoughts – they resonated with me.


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