I read a lot of books, blogs and listen to countless christian podcasts… In each of those mediums, the writer/speaker seems to start out with some elaborate title or position in their church or ministry. It seems that the titles get more elaborate or “trendy” as time goes on. Me? I’m just a guy…
I’m a guy who has been broken, unworthy, self loathing and sinful. But yet through all that I believe that Christ, the Son of God, loves me. He genuinely cares for me and had I been the only person throughout the whole of history to respond to His love, He would have still stepped down from grace, lowered Himself to the painful life of a mortal and died for me. He was tortured in more ways than just the physical accounts and still did it for me and for you.
Sound too simple? Too child like? I think most truths are simple and sound child like. Murder is bad, not sharing is bad, stealing is bad, touching a hot burner is bad…
Our culture has grown increasingly aggressive against this notion. An increasingly cynical portion of our culture has decided that such notions as belief in God, Christ, salvation or His sacrifice are fairy-tales. They believe that those who believe are troglodytes and unenlightened. In response to which, many christians began to become less apparent in their beliefs so that they don’t appear stupid or offensive to others. While other christians go the opposite direction and feel that being offensive is somehow going to earn them a higher placement in heaven. Being offensive is often the biggest barrier to spreading the message of Christ. I think Christ is equally hurt by both extremes. His commission to us was to spread the message and He also commanded us to love others – not just others like us.
The funny thing (to me) is that Christ did a pretty good job of showing indignation to the religious group of His time, while showing compassion, love and enjoyment with the company of broken people like me. Being offensive in the “name of Christ” and then pretending to be persecuted is not fooling anyone. It certainly isn’t fooling Christ. Truth-be-told, acting as a christian will sometimes offend people (especially religious people). There’s no reason to go out of our way to offend people. I suppose that if I had to choose a group to offend, it would be religious people. At the same time, Christ was able to enjoy people while still showing them a better way to live – a life through Him. He did so with only occasionally reminding them of who He is.
Don’t you find that intriguing. Christ was such a “regular” guy in His community that GOD HIMSELF had to remind them of who He is. Talk about an amazing ability to engage people. He was one of them, without being one of them and through that was able to minister to them in their lifestyle.
There are countless books out there about why the church is becoming irrelevant. I think it’s because of one simple truth. We fail to do it the way Christ did… We, the church, are happy to live externally from the world and then try to tell them how to live. Wouldn’t it be more powerful if we lived it the way we are compelled to live, along side them?
After all, we are them. Religious people, church-goers and all-of-the-above are simply people. We are no different, we’ve just selected to heed the call. We could very easily have been among those who don’t get it.