“If you go for a vacation in Wales or Scotland, you cannot help being struck by the large number of castles, many of them now in ruins. In medieval days the castle was the place of control over the surrounding countryside, the place to run into and be safe when there was an enemy attack. It seems to me that the Christian church in the West is in danger of going back to the castle culture. It used to control public life, especially in matters of honesty, relationships, education, law, medicine, peace, and war. that control has long since gone. However, Christians are in the habit of retiring into the castle of the church – its customs, its dress, its attitudes. But there is a growing alienation between the people in the castle and the people outside: the gap between Christians and others is growing all the time.” Michael Green, Sharing your faith with friends and family, pg. 25

In the relationship between the City of God and the City of Man there is a constant desire to find shelter from the continual onslaught of ‘difference’. Difference between the world and life views each City holds dear. Like people in the Medieval period we are running for shelter in the confines of Christendom, and like the Medieval castles before us these confines will end in ruins, outmoded in their structure and covering by the shifting tides of culture. Our customs, dress, and attitudes will become the stock of the thift stores of the future; and the things we felt were so important will be come the discard of our children. How can we protect the One we value who is most dear to us while supporting an alienation from the world out there , when the One whom we value lives out there in the real world and not inside our christian castles?

Evangelism is all about the disposal of our castle culture and the putting on of the garb of Christ’ incarnational love and service. The Kingdom of God doesn’t exude its glories through our social introversions or physically marketed flags; rather it continues to make a name for its King by the church embodying the public display of death, resurrection, and ascension her Lord carried out in his own life for her and the world. When belonging in the social hierarchy of the local church becomes a greater desire than becoming Christ to our neighbors outside the church we have returned to the glum decor of the castle walls. Hiding in fear of losing a kingdom we never had or were called to build…