A while back, I downloaded the free Logos Bible app and more recently, I have been using it to organize my prayer lists and do some Bible study. What annoys me about Logos, however, is that if you want to use certain features--like, say, the interlinear Greek option of some translations--you have to buy a Logos software set, the cheapest of which is $250!
I may, someday, invest the $250 in Logos software. I'm sure it's worth the cost.
But my experience with using Logos has me wondering about the different "trappings" of Christianity.
I live in a Christian culture. I get to use a Christian software app in order to read and study the Bible. I can go down to Family Christian Stores, or Lifeway Books, and look up the latest Christian books and/or other media. I listen to Christian praise music. I go to church on Sundays and Wednesdays and sing on a praise team. I read (and write) Christian fiction, as does my BFF. There are loads of Christian notebooks, tips on how to have a good "quiet time", version upon version of the Bible, videos to entertain the kids with clean, Christian entertainment, and, to top it off, Christian decor to place on your walls and on your shelves. I've done a number of Bible studies where you get the workbook, fill in the blanks, have group discussion, and watch the accompanying video. I can, off the top of my head, name several prominent Christian authors/celebrities: Beth Moore, Kay Arthur, Priscilla Shirer, John MacArthur, James Dobson, Max Lucado, etc. If you can afford it, you can send your children to Christian school or Christian colleges. Or, you can homeschool your children using a Christian curriculum.
What would happen if all of these "trappings" of Christianity disappeared?
Is the faith of the average American Christian based in Christian culture? Or is it truly based in Christ?
I hear, at this time of year, the gripes about the supposed "war on Christmas" and how "Jesus is the reason for the season" and how Christians are supposed to be offended and to "stand up for Jesus!" when someone says "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas". Never mind that, during December, there's also Hanukkah, and that Kwaanza starts the day after Christmas. (And today marks "Festivus for the rest of us!" the annual airing of grievances made popular by Seinfeld.)
I also hear the usual screaming about how "God isn't allowed in schools!" and how things would be oh, so much better if we could just put God and prayer back in schools. As if God slams into an invisible wall whenever a believer steps onto a public school campus and deserts him/her, only to reinhabit him/her when the believer steps off the campus.
There are Christian brothers and sisters that don't have the "trappings" of Christianity that we think are so important in American society. In Iraq, Iran, China, and other places, they don't have access to Christian bookstores and many of them may not have even heard of the Christian teachers I've named above. Possession of a Bible is a crime in several countries. Confession of the name of Jesus can, and sometimes does, get you killed. Just ask people in ISIS-held territory.
What would the average American Christian do if they wound up in a country without a Christian culture? What would they do if they only had a Bible and nothing else? Would they keep their faith, or would it wither and die? Would they complain because their children couldn't pray in public schools, or not hear "Merry Christmas" from a store clerk? Or because there are no Christian schools to send their children to? Or because they can't get their latest copy of a Beth Moore study?
I really wonder, at times, where is the faith of the average American Christian based? I ask this question of my faith as well. Without the "trappings" -- without the "Christian" culture that I am so accustomed to -- would I lose my faith? And if I did, how strong was that faith to begin with? What was my faith based in?
Our fellow Christians throughout the world seem to do just fine worshiping God without Christian trappings. Can't we do the same?
Just my .04, adjusted for inflation.