The new book is called Christian -Atheist, by some megachurch pastor somewhere. The email from Christianity Today plugging the book asked, â€œAre you living a dual existence?â€ My answer, â€œwhy, yes I am.â€ In fact, hyphenation is exactly what the life of exile requires â€“ we live here but this is not our home. The advertisement adds, â€œIf you profess a belief in God, but live as though He doesnâ€™t exist, you may be more divided than you think. Read The Christian Atheist and join author Craig Groeschel as he looks to resolve a conflict that affects the lives of countless Christians.â€
I do think Iâ€™ll pass.
But it is an interesting thought experiment whether the way I ride the subway, cross the street, teach at a secular university, root for the Phillies, or read John Updike differs from non-Christians performing those same tasks in any sort of visible way. At least, it does differ on the common days of the week since my Christian self avoids teaching, rooting, and reading Updike on the Lordâ€™s Day. Crossing the street and riding the subway may actually be works of necessity to participate in worship.
So even if the dichotomy is wrongheaded â€“ Christian-Atheist â€“ the idea of hyphenation is one that needs to be cultivated, as in Christian-Americans, Christian-Phillies fans, and Christian-historians. We have a lot of divided loyalties out there 24/6, and negotiating them is the task of that wonderful Protestant doctrine of vocation.
(By the way, why doesnâ€™t the Christian side of this guy shave?)