Biology lesson: niche. In a healthy ecosystem, every animal has a niche, a place that it belongs, pertaining to everything from the place it sleeps, the food it eats, the availability of mates, to its relationship with other species (such as predator-prey, symbiotic, parasitic, etc.). However, if there are two species that require the same niche, or an overpopulation of the same species, then mass-death is a result, because of the competition for limited resources. Two species can not exist in the same niche, nor can a high numeric of the same species occupy the same niche because of the limited shelter, food, and mates that exist.
Christians live in a niche paradox. On one hand, our niche is everywhere. Christianity knows no bounds, not constrained by race or sex, knows no difference between financial or social, no loyalty to age or career, has no national or political bias, can exist in any environment.
Christians have also been given the freedom to eat!: About noon the next day, while they were on their way and approaching the city, Peter went up on the roof to pray. He became hungry and wanted to eat, but while they were preparing the meal, a trance came over him. He saw heaven opened and an object something like a large sheet descending, being let down to earth by its four corners. In it were all kinds of four-footed animals and reptiles of the earth and wild birds. Then a voice said to him, “Get up, Peter; slaughter and eat!” But Peter said, “Certainly not, Lord, for I have never eaten anything defiled and ritually unclean!” The voice spoke to him again, a second time, “What God has made clean, you must not consider ritually unclean!” This happened three times, and immediately the object was taken up into heaven. Acts 10:9-16 ESV.
With few limitations, such as blood and human flesh, we have been given the freedom to eat, so that we can build community. So that Jews, Gentiles, rich, poor–so that anybody can sit at the Lord’s table. For what is a better relationship builder than food? a meal, a party, a festival, a feast?
The Church’s only mate should be God; however, Christians do experience competition with other things that try to consume our hearts, such as sex, money, alcohol, drugs, pride, business, etc.
Competition also comes from our relationship with others. The Christian niche is everywhere, which makes Christianity such a threat, since it requires the same resources (people) as Atheism, Islam, Buddhism, and any other religion. However, on the other hand, we have no niche [physical that is]: “If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. . . . But now I am coming to You [the Father], and I am saying these things in the world, so they may experience my joy completed in themselves. I have given them Your word, and the world has hated them, because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. I am not asking You to take them out of the world, but that You keep them safe from the evil one. They do not belong to the world just as I do not belong to the world. Set them apart in the truth; Your word is truth. Just as You sent me into the world, so I sent them into the world. And I set myself apart on their behalf, so that they too may be truly set apart.” John 15:19, 17:13-19 ESV.
We have no niche, because we do not belong in this world,”This world is not my home I’m just a-passin’ through.” We should no longer be subject to the flesh, to sin, for we belong to the Kingdom. We are called out to be “strong and courageous,” which means rebelling against the ‘norm’ when it is unholy, not conforming to a sinful world that will do sinful things, such as promoting abortion or approving homosexual marriage.
The Christian-niche paradox, is just one of the many paradoxes we must struggle/live with, as we strive to become the people who He wants us to be.