CHRISTIAN LIFE & GROWTH
Christians and the furry/punk/steampunk/Ren Faire/cosplay lifestyle.
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What does the Bible say about a Christian being a furry, goth, or punk? Is it okay to be involved with Ren faires, steampunk, or cosplay? I'll try to be as helpful as possible in giving a Biblical answer, but I won't be discussing specific fandoms. I want to be clear that the issue is not how different or socially unacceptable the practice may be. Rather what's really important is if it glorifies the Lord, and if it adds in our transformation into Christ's likeness.
When we are saved, we are transformed in our new birth. As Paul says, "Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come" (2 Corinthians 5:17). We become new creatures with new hearts and spirits (Jeremiah 24:7, 31:33; Ezekiel 11:19; 36:26). Our desires are no longer directed inward, but outward to the Lord. We are told to "lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit" (Ephesians 4:22). No longer serving ourselves, we are commanded to glorify God in everything we do. Many times it's as simple as stopping drug and alcohol use, but sometimes we are caught in a different type of situation. Sometimes it's not immediately clear what we should do. That's when we can look to the Word to determine if our actions are according to His will.
Basically, there's no verse against dressing up in costumes, nor are there laws against it. The issue is not necessarily the act, but how it may hinder our ability to spread the gospel and live a life that glorifies God. I'll use myself as an example. Before I was saved, I was involved in the punk lifestyle. I had a huge colored Mohawk, jacket with patches, piercings, tattoos, grimy clothes, the whole nine yards. Now there's absolutely nothing wrong with any of that, it's just a different style. Some may not understand and they may say I'm weird or strange, but I enjoyed it and I didn't care what others thought. But when I was saved, my desires began to change. Even though there was nothing wrong with my appearance, it started to bother me a little. Not at all that I cared what others thought of me, but rather I started to care what others thought of God. I realized that I represented Christ and the change He makes in our hearts. The more I thought about it, the more I was convinced I needed to change my appearance. I knew it wasn't right that people judged me by external things (1 Samuel 16:7; Jeremiah 17:10; John 7:24), but I knew they would. And as God's representative I am called to live a life that most glorifies Him (Matthew 5:16; 1 Peter 2:12). There was nothing wrong with how I dressed, but I knew, whether right or wrong, it would hinder my ability to share the gospel with others. It was time for me to grow up, and stop chasing my own adolescent pleasures. Paul puts it perfectly saying, "When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things" (1 Corinthians 13:11).
See it would be wrong of me to say that being a furry/punk/goth/etc. Christian is sinful because it's socially unacceptable, but it'd be Biblical of me to say it's a bad idea because it doesn't glorify God. The problem with being a fandom Christian is the same problem with being involved in many counter-cultures. The fact is, it's self-serving, not God-serving. Sure we could share the gospel in a costume, whether it be a furry one or a punk one, but we'd be lying if we said it wouldn't hinder our efforts to evangelize. Certainly the Lord wants us to share the gospel with furries and punks, but we don't have to be involved to do it. Paul talks about this too:
For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a slave to all, so that I may win more. To the Jews I became as a Jew, so that I might win Jews; to those who are under the Law, as under the Law though not being myself under the Law, so that I might win those who are under the Law; to those who are without law, as without law, though not being without the law of God but under the law of Christ, so that I might win those who are without law. To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak; I have become all things to all men, so that I may by all means save some. I do all things for the sake of the gospel, so that I may become a fellow partaker of it. (1 Corinthians 9:19-23)
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Image Credit: David Lytle; Creative Commons
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Published on 4-22-14