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Domesticated Christian

I heard a rather sad story once from the pulpit. Apparently, a family found a young, wounded raccoon. The daughter of the family insisted on taking care of it and the family obliged her. Over a period of a couple weeks the raccoon grew healthier and healthier in large thanks to the daughter who cared for it daily. A month later, it had become a kind of family pet. It could go about in the backyard and responded well to being fed. In the second month, a friend warned the family that what they had was a wild animal. The friend told the family to get it back into the wild as soon as possible. Without doing so, he warned, the animal would one day drastically change its behavior and would even attack without warning. Sadly the family ignored their friend’s warning. The next call the friend received days later was from the emergency room. The raccoon had indeed matured and its wildness got the better of its temperament. Without warning, the raccoon had attacked the little daughter with its claws.

The moral of the story is obvious: don’t treat a wild animal as a tame one. The pastor went on to explain how our temptation to do bad is like that temptation to keep the raccoon as a pet. Eventually, doing bad comes around back to you and scratches you with its claws. (He explained it better but that was the gist.)

Rather than thinking of the danger of being wild, I want to reflect on what it means to be tame. A tame animal results from the domestication of wild animals. Over many generations, animal populations are iterated to produce “safer” creatures. The process is a variation on evolution which involves artificial rather than natural selection. The artificiality of the process is the result of a third-party, in this case, humans.

Similar to domesticated animals, I believe there are “domesticated Christians.” I first heard this term from Rev. Aaron Williams of Mount Zion Baptist Church. I found the term immediately intriguing. Mull it over yourself. Consider whether you are a domesticated ________ ? In my own faith, I’ve worked very hard not to be a domesticated Christian. In the case of Christian domestication, I believe the third-party is the influences and pressures of the world. Jesus did a better job explaining it in a parable about a sower and some seeds.

Whether the early Christians were “wild” or simply “not tame,” I don’t know. Certainly, they were not domesticated. Having just finished, The Last Battle , by C. S. Lewis, I can guess what the author thought. In the book, Lewis repeatedly emphasizes his opinion through the characters in his description of Aslan, a lion representative of Jesus. He writes:

“Well said, well said, Jewel,” cried the King. “Those are the very words: not a tame lion . It comes in many tales.”