Very. Shit could go down. I'm serious. And dangerous. Middle name even. Yep.
In many ways, Risking Damnation is a 12-step program where no one is actually trying to stay clean. That is a little strong since being addicted to crack is no fun (after the first couple awesome months) but the Risking Damnation community doesn’t see the problem of this addiction as anything more than a physical irritation. It does not morally taint the person any more or less than any other moral failing.
In addition to being largely misunderstood, Risking Damnation could be written off as a cult or a joke. There is some irony in both of those possible reactions. Likely, the more serious danger could be if believers view it as license to indulge.
The problem with most of the vices of the world isn’t the vices themselves as much as completely immersing oneself in them. Indeed, a vice is anything that becomes a problem. Chocolate becomes a vice in the hands of the wrong person as much as polyamory becomes a problem for someone else.
Some people need to hear that their behavior is a problem. It isn’t because the behavior is a problem for everyone and needs to be outlawed, but because some people have a problem with that behavior. Certainly when a person ‘needs’ a substance that is not strictly essentially to life, questions should be raised. Also, when others are being hurt either emotionally or physically, something has gone wrong.
As Christians, we build hedges to keep ourselves safe just like the Pharisees did in the first century. Certainly we would like everyone to be safe, secure, protected, free from pain, free from poverty, and righteous. So do our mothers. Life involves maturing and part of maturing is evaluating risk, making mistakes, getting bruised, and getting back up again. We are not meant to only be children; we are designed by our creator to grow, mature, and learn. Why is it that as a church (and society) we continually try to prevent people from learning, developing and maturing?
It could go horribly wrong if immature people see Risking Damnation as justification for acting foolishly. Some behaviors have irreversible effects on people. Though meth might be fun and excellent for weight loss, frying every dopamine receptor in one’s head is foolish and it is certainly a challenge to think of any reason to incur that amount of damage for such a small amount of reward.
We aren’t trying to become 21st century martyrs by sacrificing ourselves to drugs, drink, and STDs in the name of spreading the faith. We are saying that being so afraid of any of these things that one lives trapped in a self-righteous monastic world casting dispersions on those that do partake all falsely in name of Christ is high heresy. Making a choice to refrain from drink because one makes poor decisions when drinking or because of a family history of alcoholism or because of a weakened liver is entirely justifiable and requires no further theological or biblical justification. In other words, don’t blame the church for avoiding something or claiming that a gift of God intended for our pleasure is a temptation of the Devil. Rather, admit the personal and subjective rationale for behaving thusly. There is no shame or weakness is knowing oneself enough to choose wisely.
Risking Damnation is not for the stupid or the immature; it is for adults that dare to think for themselves and seek out information, knowledge, ideas, and God’s will.
What about the Children?
Traditional churches do a fine job of children’s ministry. Traditional churches are safe places perfectly suited for raising children and talking to nice young couples looking for a good, clean, morally upright environment. I have no problem with this except that it bores a twenty-something with raging hormones, an enormous sex drive, an appetite for drugs and booze, and an education at our latest universities that teach critical thinking. The message we gave our children and even our teenagers needs to change when those kids learn that life is more complex, more sinister, and more complicated.
The Risking Damnation community is specifically ignoring children and families with children. Sure, what about the young families with a parents involved in sex, drugs, and rock-n-roll? What about the single mother’s? Another day. We can’t do everything well.