Let’s admit it, while certainly cute, babies definitely look like little aliens. During pregnancy, this is especially the case as some ultrasound pictures look far more like a developing grey alien than an unborn human being. This is probably not such a coincidence as the grey alien imagery originated from an old H.G. Wells novel that imagines humans in the far future evolving into a mature incarnation of our in vitro form. The popularity of Well’s imaginative beings led many future science fiction writers to create fictional alien races that mirrored the appearance of Well’s future man. Wells was of course incorrect to think future generations will look like the creatures in Close Encounters of the Third Kind, we are not literally raising future generations of aliens. Nonetheless, for the Christian the Bible tells us we should hope to see our children become aliens to this world.
1 Peter repeatedly refers to Christians as aliens to this world, sojourners away from their heavenly home. Sometimes we might think being a Christian is just being a good God fearing American, basically being a decent chap. We think Christianity is the majority culture, have good family and country values. 1 Peter completely dispels that false notion. Christians are out of place in this world; our values fundamentally stand against the ethos of this fallen and broken world. Some believe that in America we are moving post Christian and beginning to corrode the Christian values that made our nation great, they think Christians are losing hold of our country. Peter on the other hand shows us no country this side of the resurrection is comfortable for those who proclaim Christ as Lord; our Gospel message is a great offense even to those who seem to agree with us politically or ethically. Christians aren’t the moral majority anywhere; we are aliens and sojourners who desperately await entering the kingdom we have been adopted into. It may be the case that Christianity is more culturally anathema than it was only a few years ago, but that is only because the American version of the religion of basic human moralism has stopped calling itself Christianity.
Knowing our faith is alien to this world should fundamentally alter how Christians parent. Every world culture aspires to raise their children to be seen as moral, successful, and happy. Christians are called to pray and hope their children become people who our world will likely find narrow minded, unaccomplished, and suffering; they hope they are to become aliens to this world. Raising your children to know Jesus as Lord and Savior first and foremost is to raise them to be cultural outcasts. If we commit to this (and we should) we must know we are committing to raising them in a way that outside perception will make career success less likely. Raising them in the faith will also mean to commit to raising children that will be mocked and scorned by those around them. Even more significantly, raising aliens is committing to raise children that will be hurt by those they might love most deeply.
Jesus called us to count the cost before we followed Him and similarly if we want to pass on the amazing news of Jesus to future generations we must be keenly aware of the cost. When we decide the most important thing we can pass down is the Gospel message we have to see our children will likely become as out of place to this world as the aliens in the latest sci-fi movie. Following Jesus will cost our children immensely, however like aliens far from home they will be headed to something far greater than this world. The world will reject our Christian children (probably much more than us) but they will become citizens of a kingdom far greater than this world. They will await a future of being princes and princesses of the entire universe and they will see a previous of this great kingdom each Sunday morning. Don’t be afraid of raising up an alien generation, because sometimes not being of this world is a good thing.