What is it about people in general that would ever make us think we “have it all together”? Why is it that if you are a “Christian” you have to try to be perfect, or at least judge others for not being perfect, all the while hiding behind God’s name as your made up authority to condemn others? It seems like no matter where I go I’m faced with the painful fact that Christians have no idea who their God is and how it affects their lives. I’m becoming more and more resistant to anything people do that they feel the need to slap the title “evangelism” on. In this day and age, the term “evangelism” is another way of saying “ we are going to disguise a seemingly fun activity to distract and deceive the ‘lost souls’ into coming so we can shove Jesus down their throats and ‘save’ them.”
Is this really what evangelism means? Is this what Jesus meant when he gave us the Great Commission? I don’t believe the answer is yes to either question. Have you ever seen anyone GENUINELY respond positively to this form of evangelism? Even if they prayed the prayer, do they even know what they were praying, or were they just being fed some crap to repeat, in fear of going to hell, or things of the like? I’m just fed up with this whole counterfeit Christianity that brings people in with lies and deceit. Its like somehow people think that the one with the most souls wins, while completely neglecting the person involved and ignoring the heart of the matter, which is raising up true believers to be mature Christians spiritually.
I can’t relate to most Christians anymore. It’s becoming increasingly more difficult for me to even call myself a Christian. I hate that I’m unwillingly being associated with all of the spiritual frauds and religious hacks out there who think their way is the only way to all things good in life. I’m being drained of all the passion I once had to do any type of church ministry. The only thing I see is Godless churches doing whatever selfish things they want in God’s name, at the expense of relationships, integrity, and transparency.
Then there’s the other side of this double-edged sword…the side that thinks they are genuinely doing the right thing, but going about it all wrong. You know the type… They may have had the best of intentions, yet they come across as offensive, in your face Bible thumpers who only care about your “soul” and completely disregard your heart.
As I sit here in this large and popular breadworks food chain, almost everyone around me is, quite ironically, talking about church and ministry, and how it pertains to their lives. What is so interesting to me is that even their conversations make me think all they think about are themselves. This lady beside me is talking to her friend about how she loves church and loves being “involved” and being in community, while also talking about how she hates having to “deal” with her kids and how they drive her crazy and how her favorite day is when she can wake up and no one is home and its quiet and they aren’t asking her questions and driving her crazy. Her 14 year old son asked her today what was wrong with her cause he knew something was wrong and he was worried about her, and she apparently reacted by yelling at him to mind his own business and that she was fine and he shouldn’t ask her about it. What does this teach her son, who is trying to be caring, loving, and sensitive to the needs of the ones closest to him? What does it say about her character? She cares about community and ministry but she doesn’t want to be involved with her kids?
As I look across the room I see at least three “WWJD” bracelets. First of all, I didn’t know people still wore those…go figure. But no one ever asks the question the bracelet was designed to cause them to. People wear their Jesus apparel, carry their Bible around, say a whole bunch of “amen” and “ praise God” in conversation, but no one wants to acknowledge the messy, sometimes unorthodox life that is the true Christian life. A life that is filled with persecution, obstacles, and challenges that would make any grown man cry. But this same life brings about true joy, hope, and peace in the eternal eyes of the one who is faithful to the One who has called us to be a light in a dark world. Light is not heard, it is seen. In the same way, the gospel should first be seen in one’s daily life, before being heard.
What does it mean for the Gospel to be seen? What I DON’T believe it means is when people try to live as “holy” of a life as they can, in hopes to give the impression that they have it all together, that they have all the answers, that they know the best way to live. These people will typically tell you everything you are doing wrong, and how to fix it. Or maybe they are hyper evangelistic with their life, making sure to incorporate the Gospel in EVERY single thing they do or say. That’s fine if that’s how they want to live, but I feel like it gives the impression that they have no concept of reality, or people, or social skills. They typically come across as cheesy and lame. Why would I ever want to be like that? Don’t get me wrong, I love seeing God work in the little things. I love seeing the story of redemption in nature and in day to day activities. But I also see the love of Christ in simply having a conversation about really anything. I see the hope of Christ in friends and family, in sitting down to have dinner, in grabbing coffee with someone. I see the freedom of Christ when we tear down the walls of conformity to our cultural standards of living and just be real with one another about who we are. None of these things requires us to tell the Gospel first, and yet they speak the Gospel the loudest. Sometimes this can be the most genuine way to share Christ with any individual.
Not many churches live out this Gospel. Most churches live out the Gospel of programs, meetings, and big events. Most churches think its not worth doing unless it involves some sort of preaching hell and Jesus at people who probably only came for the free food. Most churches want to be showy and extravagant, and yet sacrificing the relevance they so longed to achieve. The sad reality is I would venture to say upwards of 90% or more of churches today are completely missing the mark. When trying to invest into people’s lives, they are not building a foundation on a rock that lasts, but rather the shifting sand of our weak Americanized form of Jesus, who isn’t the real Jesus at all.
I guess the fact of the matter is, I can’t trust the leadership of most churches to be authentic or biblical. How many churches have a pastor who isn’t even qualified to be a pastor? It happens every day. I happen to regard higher education quite strongly, which is ironic since I haven’t finished college, but I’m also not trying to be a pastor either. My point being, why do we let people teach us who were either handed the position of pastor cause everyone liked him, or he was someone’s son or grandson, or maybe he was just grandfathered in because he knew the right person or the church was desperate… and yet this is the person who is responsible for the whole church’s spiritual well being and growth! Its ridiculous that we would settle for anything less than someone who has been forced to study the original text, within the historical context, as well as scriptural context, learning from the best and brightest our generation has to offer, reflecting on the best previous generations had to offer, all the way back to the first century church. Basically, I want someone as my pastor who knows his stuff, not just any ole chump coming in saying he was “called” to be a pastor. My answer to the man who thinks he is “called” to be a pastor is: if that’s really true, then go to seminary first and prove it. But the church settles.
So what of my current state? Well all I can say is I’ve had enough! I’ve had enough of just playing happy-go-lucky Christian who is passive and submissive to anyone who claims to have Godly authority. I’ve had enough of being about something I don’t even believe in. I’m tired of sitting back and watching as people spit on the name of Jesus with their foolishness and ignorance. I’m tired of living a lie. I want something more. I want to believe there’s more to life than programs, plays, and events. I want more than what this church has to offer. I want to experience God in a real way, or give up all together. If its not authentic, its not worth the effort anyway.
Please don’t misunderstand me. I don’t want to come across as a know-it-all. In fact my point is that I don’t want to sacrifice things like humility and integrity, for deceitfulness and lies. In the end I want people to know who I am, not who they think I am. I want people to understand that my heart is not to mislead, but to live the truth. I don’t want to be just another fraud with a bag of tricks. I want to be different, I want to be the change. I want to feel something different in my life. I need more than this…I’m willing to bet you can relate.