THE THIN LINE BETWEEN SACRED AND SECULAR
I remember way back in senior high school, the real popular guys were the ones who could keep a balance between academic work and extra-curricular activities. There were those who were bad boys yet had good grades in class. So then you would often hear people say ‘this guy is a bad boy yet extremely smart in class’. This is what most of us tried to attain – keeping a balance between our academics and ‘being cool guys’. Nevertheless, WAEC found a way of telling us that it was a silly decision we took through our WASSCE results. It is either you make a choice to be on one side of the divide or your indecision will drag you into one, and usually it is to the darker side of the divide.
All I am trying to say is that, it is an inherent quality in man to be on the safer side by keeping a balance between two opposing ends. When I say ‘safer side’, I actually mean to be in the position to please everybody else but their maker and themselves. And usually the line between two opposing positions is thinner than a strand of hair. Especially the line between what is SACRED and SECULAR. The line between SECULAR and SACRED is so thin, you would have to tiptoe to remain on it. And balancing one’s body in that position is probably the most difficult task, for even the stagnant air would feel like a tempestuous wind causing your body to move back and forth. It is clear that it is difficult trying to stay in the middle or that ‘neither-here-nor-there’ position, so then why do people try to stay there? Especially in Christianity. It seems to be the most appealing position to be in nowadays. When you are somebody who holds in high esteem the precepts of Christianity you are either branded as ‘holier-than-thou’ or judgmental. While the bible says we are in this world but we are not of it, most twentieth century Christians make it seem a little bit of secular elements sprinkled in our church services can reach out to the masses instead. Hence there is either a mixture of worldly things to make the gospel more attractive. It is amazing how we waste our energies trying to make an already attractive message attractive. How do we even manage to allow that to cross our minds? Let’s take it from this scenario – several hours have been devoted in preparing the bride for the wedding ceremony. She is properly made up and looking very presentable. At this point, the duty of the people in charge is to get the bride to her groom. It is worthy of note that any additional number of minutes spent in trying to further make the bride look any more pretty than she already is, will generously contribute to making her look like a descendant of a scarecrow. Amazingly, that is what some Christians have made their topmost priority now – dressing up an already beautiful gospel with coats and coats of worldliness disguised as make-up.
Though it may sound a little bit harsh, there is actually a divide between the world and the church. Yet there are many that have made it their top priority to blur that line. Therefore, instead of God looking down and seeing two contrasting colors as in black and white, He probably would see what may seem like ash or grey in the middle portion. Why? Because we claim in our bid to reach out to many, we would have to alter some portions of the WORD to make it suitable and acceptable to them. Our mandate on this earth is however to deepen the line between secular and sacred, and try our best possible with the assistance of the Holy Spirit available to us to get as many people to join us on our side of the divide. Paul said, ‘to the Jews I became a Jew’, he said this in reference to how he was able to reach out to them, to preach the gospel. It is noteworthy however that he did not say ‘to the Jews, the GOSPEL became JEWISH’. Meaning, to the Jews he had to present himself as a Jew in order to make the gospel readily accessible to them. He did not change even an exclamation sign in the gospel to suite the style of the Jews, yet he presented himself as one of them in order to communicate his thoughts to them better.
Undoubtedly one of the most profound statements I’ve heard in recent times is ‘it is not our duty to make the gospel attractive, but it is our duty to make it available’. This totally encapsulates the idea I am trying to put across. We are supposed to see to it that the gospel reaches the whole world in whatever language possible. Nevertheless we are not supposed to allow external influence from other world views to prevail in Christianity.