"It's always seemed strange to me. The things we admire in men, kindness, generosity, openness, honesty, understanding and feeling are the concomitants of failure in our system. And those traits we detest, sharpness, greed, acquisitiveness, meanness, egotism and self-interest are the traits of success. And while men admire the quality of the first they love the produce of the second." - John Steinbeck through the character Doc in Cannery Row
Does the Christian life look different from any other life? Is life in Christ visibly distinct? John Steinbeck comments that the great traits and values that we admire are hard to work out in real life. While we may admire them, it's easier to fall back into the system. And these admirable traits often lead to "failure" while traits of self-interest lead to "success." Greed is more advantageous than generosity. Meanness easier than kindness. And so on.
So is it possible to actually live out the radically selfless calls of the Christ life? To "love enemies?" To sacrifice for the sake a resurrected Lord? To stick with one spouse for an entire life? To give without expecting anything in return? To rejoice in suffering? To set aside individual profit for the sake of communal benefit?
Increasingly, life in America is more like Babylon than Zion. Christians have to navigate a "foreign" context where the system's values and beliefs run counter to the calling of the Christ life. How do we live the "Zion life" while in Babylon? A visibly distinct, peculiar, and counter-intuitive life that confounds our neighbors and confronts the present system?
No answers, just asking the question.