Segregationist Christianity

Now Christians can network without having to put up with those bothersome non-believers.

Several months ago, Charisma magazine carried a story about a new social networking site–an exclusively Christian social networking site. “Sanctuary,” as the site is called, is for people “that believe Jesus Christ is their Lord and Savior” and is a place “[w]here believers with common interests can develop friendships, arrange study groups and a lot more.” As if that isn’t a good enough description, Charisma’s brief story on the new site stated:

Much like Facebook, SanctuaryNet.net lets you create a profile with detailed information about yourself, including your church denomination, hobbies, occupation, and favorite Bible verses. You can also search for Christians with similar interests and send friend requests, develop groups based on common interests, and send event invitations.

As if many Christians don’t seek to isolate themselves from the world as it is, now there’s a place where they can do all the stuff they’d do on Facebook but without all those Godless, lecherous, beastly non-believers. Heaven forbid Christian believers should actually interact with people not of their creed on the Internet; there’s no telling what would happen.

One of the most disgusting things to me about conservative Christianity is the extreme to which the term “family-friendly” has been taken. It’s come to encompass a meaning far more extensive than simply “things safe for children;” in effect, it’s come to mean “free of non-Christian involvement or influence.” “Family friendly” has come to represent an intellectually sterilized discourse, an irrational hostility to innovation, and a self-imposed segregation by many believers from meaningful outside contact.

While people mayn’t have heard of SanctuaryNet.net, I’d be willing to bet most have heard of ChristianMingle.com. I struggle against choking on my own bile every time one of their commercials comes on television–it just begs the question, “Why do some Christians go to such lengths to portray the whole of us as creepy commune builders?”

I’m no theologian, but I have a feeling it wasn’t Christ’s intent for us to do everything we could to isolate ourselves from the world. This insular Christianity does nothing to advance Christ’s Kindgom on Earth; if anything, it furthers the picture of the Christian faith as an exclusive club reserved only for the people who have it all together or who know the lingo.

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