Thursday, August 7, 2008

So much trouble...

I have found myself at a loss for words lately. Well, not a loss for words per se, but rather a loss for good ones. I have wanted to say something that would answer all my questions, but such words don't exist. I read Rachelle's Spiritual Hunger blog which I though was great and honest, and it has spoken into some of my own concerns as of late. The main one being that American Christianity has been evangelized in a way more similar to products being sold on television than a community of faith living out a transformed existence. Rachelle and most people I know who would classify themselves as agnostics, have been fed an idea that "Jesus will make you happy." This of course is a lie. I am not the one saying that, the Bible does. Paul speaks of the Christian life as one lived in a way that if Christ is not the son of God, we are a people to be pitied most in the world. However, that doesn't sell. You don't get a lot of people to show up for a life of serving others. So what have we done? We have put Jesus in shiny new packaging, and sold Him off at bargain basement prices, all with the promises of whiter teeth, shinier hair, more money, a healthier, happier life, and eternity in Heaven. The worst part is that I have been guilty of buying into all that. I have used these ideas to convince someone to "buy my product," rather than telling them of the opportunity in Christ to bring real rescue into our surrounding community. That is the truth of the Kingdom that Jesus came to announce. It is about recognizing that we have been rescued not for ourselves, but for others.
This hit home all the more this week as I watched one of my favorite authors, Dave Eggers, win this years TED award. He has used his success and wealth, and leveraged all of it to try and get people to volunteer to work with local public schools and invest time with students. He has developed a foundation, 268Valencia, which has over 1400 adults within the publishing and writing communities working directly with local public schools. Meg and I watched the video of his speech, and all I kept saying to myself was "there is no way that someone should ever have been able to beat the church to this idea." Inherently, an agnostic has been a part of something that brings hope and healing to the community, while evangelicals are pulling their kids and resources out of public schools. We have bought into the lie. It needs to end.
The Church needs to be the Church.

The Church needs to be the Church because no argument is going to convince anyone that Christ is here, if the people who claim Him don't live like they believe it.

I am not going to try and evangelize anyone here. I am not going to try to get you to "buy" in. I am not going to try and win an argument. I simply believe that Jesus is alive and that He came to bring hope, not happiness. I am sorry for the ways I have failed to live that out. I am sorry for the ways I have tried to sell something different. I want to be the Church, and that requires more of us than we have given.

As for Rachelle's post, thanks for sharing. We are all in community together. That is not dependent upon your faith, or mine.

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