Chapter 1: A Cry for Difference
Tchividjian talks about his upbringing in a Christian home that goes beyond his maternal grandparents, Billy and Ruth Graham. “The gospel, according to my parents, needed to be understood with our heads, felt with our hearts, and worked out with our hands.” He states that his six brothers and sisters followed this better than he. At 16, he dropped out of school and was escorted out of his parents’ house by police officers due to his disruptive lifestyle. “I’ll never forget sitting in the back of that police car and looking out the window at my crying mother. I felt no grief, no shame, no regret.”
After this, he began chasing things of this world until one day he woke up after passing out the night before in Miami’s South Beach and went to church – as disheveled as he was before he woke.
“I didn’t understand everything the preacher said that morning, and I didn’t like all the songs that were sung,” he said about the service. But what made an impression on him was the fact that the people of God were simply honoring God. “God was on full display. It was God, not the preacher or the musicians, who was being lifted up for all to see…(which, believe me, I would have seen right through).”
Tchividjian’s experience led him back into a relationship with Christ and to realize that seekers today aren’t looking for something appealing and trendy. They’re looking for something deeper than what’s currently in fashion.
“Christians make a difference in this world by being different from this world; they don’t make a difference by being the same.” This is the key point of Unfashionable, “because in our trend-chasing world it’s tempting for Christians to slowly lose their distinctiveness by accommodating to culture.”
“Only by being properly unfashionable can we engage our broken world with an embodied gospel that witnesses to God’s gracious promise of restoration, significance, and life.”
Have you encountered a Christian group that was so radically different from the world that it caught your attention, made you think of God in a new way? Have you encountered a Christian group that was so similar to the world that it roused little interest? (No need to post names…) Do you agree or disagree with Tchividjian’s key point that Christians must be different to make a difference?