Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Authenticity

"Admit it, you want to be cool." That's the first line of a book I recently read by Paul Grant. He hit on something that has become my new soapbox. I meet more and more people who are trying to project an image in an effort to make being a Christian "cool". For the record, I think being a Christian is cool. But, a lot of people think it's lame, and so it's easy to feel the need to justify our coolness to them. The thing about wanting to be cool is that we all want to be accepted. However, "cool" is about being exclusive. You can't be "cool" if you don't "get it." Now, a recent trend that I've noticed is to de-value someone else's relationship with Christ, because they are just "out of touch." While it seems innocent enough, instead of recognizing that we are all on the same team with the same purpose, it seems to divide us and make us less effective. Let me give you an example. My friend Russell likes to send me links to youtube videos that parody the Mac v. PC commercials. (You can read my thoughts on the mac vs. pc issue here). One series of videos was produced by a church, and is actually really funny.





While the intended point of these videos is that some Christians really emphasize the wrong stuff, I think it can easily move to a place where those of us who are more in the "Christ-follower" world can actually be just as judgmental towards our "Christian" counterparts as we have felt over the years. Here's what I'm wrestling with...In our effort to be cool and relevant, are we willing to say to non-believers, "Oh, those Christians really don't get it, but we do, and if you hang with us, we'll show you how to really be a Christ-follower." I really think it's important to realize that God created all of us in unique ways, and even though we may have different styles of worship, we are all in the same family. My friend Amy is a Catholic and wrote a post recently about the power of both/and instead of either/or. I don't know all the answers to these things, but I do believe that God wants us to be authentic. He doesn't want us to try to be something that we're not, for someone else's benefit or just to fit in. He created us and loves us. It's His acceptance that we need to seek. And for each other, we need to be reminded of Ephesians 4:32-5:2. "Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God." I'm interested to hear what you think about this subject. Leave a comment and let me know.

5 comments:

Shakadu said...

Yeah, there's a very fine line between being relevant and being exclusionary. Because we are of a younger generation, we don't think of the younger guy as the exclusionist, but I think you have a good point.

I do believe, however, that a lot of Christians put on a kind of Christian veneer, instead of living their regular lives. Anything we "add to" Christianity can become an idol, or turn to Pharasitical legalism.

That's what the video is addressing...that to be a good Christian you have to put on this fake outer identity instead of your own.

We have to admit that there exists a Christian Culture, if you will, almost like a club with a secret handshake, that has no relevance to the world at all, and actually works against the inclusionary message of the Gospel.

Nancy said...

This hits so home with me in a situation at work. A die-hard Church of Christ fellow wants to get into "discussions" about our beliefs, but he can't seem to accept any other idea but his. I say "Let's just agree to disagree" but he just can't even to that. One day I told him that I loved him anyway and that shut him up real fast. He didn't have a come back to that. I think that variety is the spice of life. We all have something to add to the table through the Word and that makes it more alive to me.

Angie M said...

Cool I'm not. I gave up thinking I could be friends
with everyone way back there somewhere.
I came to the LORD at the age of 47 and immediately I
saw the "world" in a whole new light. When I was
living in the world, it had an entirely different
complexion than it had as a saved person. After
spending time in the church it also took on a whole
different complexion. Initially the complexion of the
church was rosy cheeked and flawless, but it didn't
take long before you realizied "we" are the church and
we can be really messed up, and therein lies the
problem...us.
The multitude of denominations and the beliefs of
these varying denominations have been based on man's
interpretation of the Bible. The Bible says, "...The
disciples were called Christians first at Antioch."
My interpretation of that line of scripture is as
follows...we are Christians, those of us who believe
in the risen Christ and what He did for us on the
cross are Christians. It doesn't matter what name
"man" gave us, Catholic, Pentecostal, Assemblies of
God, Church of Christ, you get the picture, we are
Christians. One of songs we are singing for the 4th
of July, "WE WILL STAND", so appropriately says, "But
I don't care what label you may wear if you believe in
Jesus you belong with me the bond we share is all I
care to see and we'll change the world forever if you
will join with me." What do you say? God gives us
the directions to follow, let's just hope we are not
directionally challenged! :)

Steph said...

Good stuff. I liked the youtube stuff. I guess I'm clueless about those things out there. However, you should check out this youtube. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pNZQIusZqN It's not spiritual or anything but it's the only youtube video I've ever seen. About your post, I've really not ever thought about it but you are sooooo right. It has sort of turned into us vs. them instead of one big team. Keep up the great work! Good luck today shopping for that MAC DADDY HOUSE.
Steph
P.S. I like your post on Mac vs. PC I didn't know you felt that way.

Mark Lunsford said...

Thanks for the great thoughts! I like it when it's more than a one way conversation!