PARTY ON JESUS! (Part 1 of 2)
by Jeff Hagan
(Tacoma, WA, USA)
Various Scripture Passages
So, if I may be so bold as to ask a question, do you like going to parties that are not Christian parties?
You might answer no to this question because, quite simply, they make you feel uncomfortable. You are aware that bad things can happen at parties, and sometimes they can go from bad to worse quickly. When there seems to be an endless supply of alcohol, and often times drugs are added to the mix, things can easily get out of control. The dirty jokes, the swearing, the often present sexuality – these can certainly add up to an uncomfortable experience for a person trying to live a renewed life. And the raunchiness of it all seems to be starting younger and younger, and at times with the help of parents. A little while back a thirty-five-year old dad was arrested in Colorado for hiring a stripper for his son's birthday party, his twelve-year-old son's birthday party. When the police talked to him the father said he “just wanted to be a cool dad” (Staub, Dick. “Too Christian Too Pagan,” p.62).
Now, I was raised in a pretty conservative home, so parties full of debauchery were not a normal part of my upbringing. However, I am not innocent. I went to my fair share of parties a bit later on in life. While growing up though, the tradition of the church and denomination I was a part of went to great lengths to label certain things worldly and therefore forbidden. On the list were some understandable items, but the list also contained some harmless things as well. The list included, but was not limited to: drinking, gambling, smoking, cussing, and even cards, dancing, and going to movies. If you were raised in an environment like this it's likely when going to parties you remember all of the “thou shall nots” (legitimate or man made) that supposedly helped you “abstain from every form of evil” (1 Thess. 5:22) or cautioned you that “friendship with the world is enmity with God” (James 4:4 – no doubt usually taken out of context).
A healthy dose of fear or concern about going to parties is not all bad. If you were raised in an “anything goes” environment your memory of crazy, unhealthy, negative experiences can be helpful things preventing you from repeating those activities. After all you have been renewed, transformed, so your desires have changed and you want to steer clear of any sort of party.
On the other end of the spectrum you have self identified Christians who love to party and seem to live for them. They have no problem fitting in even when the environment is pretty extreme and wild. They usually respond with something like, “I absolutely love to go to parties that are not Christian. Christian parties are so lame and boring. Why would I want to party with the stiffs I see at church every week?”
Right about now you may be wondering how I would respond to the question. So, do I like to go to parties that are not Christian? The answer I give is full of wisdom and insight, “It all depends.” Brilliant and informative isn't it? Let me explain.
I am not naive nor am I dumb. I am fully aware that it is possible for bad things to happen at parties, but because I want to live the life God wants me to, I have committed to follow Jesus even if it means going beyond my own, personal comfort zone. So, my answer to the question depends on how I answer another question, “Can I be an effective, positive influence or presence for Jesus at the party?” If I can answer yes to that question then my answer is yes to going to parties that are not Christian.