THE FINE LINE by Kary Oberbrunner

thefinelinere-envisioning the Gap Between CHRIST and CULTURE

I am reading through this book with about 12 other guys this fall. We started a few weeks ago and will be reading and discussing it for the next six weeks or so. I want to invite you to grab a copy of the book and join us in the discussion. Through the miracle of the internets (it’s what we call it here in the foothills of North Carolina) and this blog…we can read and chat together. Maybe we can get Kary to join the discussion…I am sure he has the internets in Ohio. My last couple of post “What’s the difference between in and of” and “love your neighbor as yourself” have dealt with some of the first topics brought up in the book. If you get a chance, read back through those and comment as you feel led.

The question is kind of this…as Christians, do we have a responsibility to be relevant to those around us? It seems we churchgoing Christians focus a whole lot on getting ourself “saved” and convincing others of their need for that same fire insurance. But once we get the ticket we go back to blending in…either in our church clubs or in melding into the big bad world.  If we do have that responsibility then just how do we live that? Kary talks about these two camps…the Separatist and the Conformist. One removes itself from the world so as not to be tainted and the other joins the world so they can be accepted into the culture. Then there is this third camp…people that are able to walk The Fine Line between separating and conforming. Wouldn’t it be great if others could see Jesus in us without trying to be so religious.

On page 20 He says “Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that there is little difference between the attitudes and actions of believers and unbelievers. Rather than drawing people to Christ, many Christians are pushing people away because of the disconnection between what we say and how we live.

Run down to your local book store and pick up The Fine Line or do like I did and cut this deal with Amazon…I send them money and they send me books. If you are interested in the subject or in joining us, click the word comments below and let me know.

About Eddie Broussard

Bond servant to Jesus the Christ, want to be harvest worker (only a few out there).
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  • http://www.karyoberbrunner.com/ Kary Oberbrunner

    I am here Eddie….I will comment too and we do have internet in Ohio :)
    My question is…which camp do your people struggle with…Separatist or Conformist and why?

  • Bob Lee

    I would say our church if more Conformist….meeting at the Teen Center of the YMCA, music is contemporry and not wanting to offend with preaching on hard subjects. We are more cerebral and less on the application, so as you can imagine, not alot of evidence for changed lives. I would call the Men's Group that is reading the book more “pre-Transformist”. We're picking up on the concepts but counting the cost too.

    We covered Orange Construction Cones and Skin Deep Love today. It made me think of our lives as more like a Rubic's Cube. We might get one side of the cube solved but the rest is still horribly messed up. Seperatist and Conformist likely don't want to risk breaking up the side that looks good. In fact they set up alot of rules and rituals that may actually make it harder to solve life's puzzle. In reality we need to risk messing up the good side in order to find a solution for other sides. As you get closer to solving the cube, the last step requires a dramatic rearrangement of all the sides to finally bring everything into the correct allignment.

    I think Jesus working with the Holy Spirit is all about messing up our orderly world, but it is with the best of intentions. Are we willing to live in that tension and that mess in order to come out the other side perfectly alligned with His will?

    Hmm . Good question.

    Bob

  • bengibson

    I'm not disagreeing with what Bob said, but I think that there is a lot of separatism in our church as well. It seems to me that most of our members are christian music listeners, like the christian coffee shops, and just hang out with other christians in general. I don't see many people who engage with the world in a transformational way…we just disengage. And I include myself in that last statement.

    But I see the conformist tendencies as well, both in myself and in our church. There are “hard subjects,” as Bob said, that we overlook and ignore because they make us uncomfortable, and it's easier to just go along with the world.

    So I guess what I'm saying is that I don't think that we fit neatly into either camp. Our lives are segmented and we flip flop back and forth depending on what we're most comfortable with at the time. I hope that makes sense.

  • chadspear

    It makes perfect sense, Ben.

    The more and more I think on this subject the more and more I feel/think that with a few exceptions, all humans flip flop back and forth. I would say though that i's not b/c that's what we're comfortable with at the time (although that may be true some), but rather b/c we see that's what's needed at the moment. I mean in all fairness, didn't Jesus “flip flop” depending on who He was talking to?!

    Kary did use the picture, literally, of a see-saw. See saws don't stay stationary most of the time, they go back and forth. I find our church and its members/regular attendees (myself included) go back and forth. We have separatist moments (praying specifically for a Christian presidential candidate to win over others) and we have conformist moments (holding church-on-th-lawns and such to show that the church isn't just a building).

    On the whole, I love where our church is at right now. Holding on quite tightly to church history and our roots where at the same time, pruning ourselves and pulling up some of the roots that have caused us to be “irrelevant”, as Kary says, to the non-believing world.

    Does this make sense…or am i missing a crucial point somewhere?!

    -Chad

    PS – Kary, I don't know if you remember her or not, but my wife, Hope Elizabeth (Barnes) Spear swears she went to college w/ you…graduated in '02, ran track a few years, education major….

  • ozzylevicocarelli

    Kary,
    Do you believe that a genuine “transformist” (the type that is modeled after Jesus) would find only the way of the cross as his/her modus operandi? In other words, do you believe that we must not rely on the “sword” (political power or other forms of power) or the pen of a legislator to transform, but on being a servant, just like Jesus?

  • Name

    The Transformist finds his/her power for transformation outside of culture. Yet he/she lives out that faith within the context of culture.
    Good question.

  • ozzylevicocarelli

    Somebody said, “The reason we are not to be of the world is so we may be for the world.” Boy, there is a lot to think about as I reflect on these words and on your book.

  • ozzylevicocarelli

    Somebody said, “The reason we are not to be of the world is so we may be for the world.” Boy, there is a lot to think about as I reflect on these words and on your book.