a response to: sexy “christianity”
A few weeks ago the corpse of sexy “christianity” was exhumed from its digital grave. What was little more than a dormant diary-entry reawakened and some of my most profuse heart-leakage started seeping into the cracks of facebook. And while its meanderings seem to have struck a nerve, I have a dirty secret to admit:
I am book-reading-and-blogging boy.
I wrote sexy “christianity” plaid-clad with a side of skinny jeans and coffee in a local java shop. My tactless and messy pen strokes were an attempt at confessing my own martyr-complex, pharisaic tendencies, and shallow faith with resolve to move back to the epicenter of a simple overflowing love for my Murdered Savior.
It takes one to know one in a culture where one of the most ostentatious and perhaps trendy things a Christian can do is write a blog about spirituality. Often we share our messiness with the world hoping to feel a little less messy. But really, we end up smearing our mess into a mess that’s more nice-looking but no less messy. The blogosphere is an inch deep and a mile wide.
But then, life’s not about a blog… or a style… The depth of your deep-V is not a measuring unit for the depth of your spirituality. Torn up shoes can’t prove how far you’ve walked with Jesus. And a longer beard doesn’t particularly make you more Christ-like (sorry, white-Russian-bearded-baby-faced Jesus!).
You can look like you know God… you can know all about God… but that has no bearing on whether or not you actually know Him.
When you know all about someone but don’t actually know them, that just makes you a stalker.
GOD DOESN'T NEED STALKERS, HE WANTS FOLLOWERS...
Temptation lurks in the murky and shallow waters of trending Christianity. It would demand every Christian forget Christ but continue looking as if they knew Him. This is what the temptation of early trending Christian culture demanded of Ananias and Sapphira. When selling land for the Jesus’ sake became the trend, the couple sought to be trendy. They sold their land with hearts bent on looking the part and hoping to receive Peter’s praise. That heart condition cost them absolutely everything.
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven… I will declare to them, ‘Depart from me, I never knew you...’” (Matthew 7:21-23)
Whether you truly know God is between you and Him, but my resolve is to peel back the spiritual-looking behavior (regardless of whether it’s dressed in suits, sackcloth, or skinny jeans) and take a look behind the curtain, into the mechanism of my faith. My intention is not to take any one flavor of Christianity to the woodshed… My intention is to make war. To raid whitewashed tombs by releasing clarion calls to the Church – that each one of us would check our own hearts with a sense of ruthlessness towards any corrupted motives we may find there. Join me, I dare you to.
For Ananias and his wife there was this pervasive thing called “self” that weaseled its slimy little way into something beautiful and made it sickening to the heart of God. God will be the judge of acts that are truly righteous and acts that just look righteous. Man looks at the outward appearance, God looks at the heart (1 Samuel 16:7)… That said, the Consuming Fire that is our God has an incredibly direct way of burning through the dross of our showy spirituality and dragging our true intentions kicking and screaming to the surface.
“If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.” (1 Cor. 13:3)
“Quit your worship charades. I can’t stand your trivial religious games:
Monthly conferences, weekly Sabbaths, special meetings - meetings, meetings, meetings - I can’t stand one more! Meetings for this, meetings for that. I hate them! You’ve worn me out! I’m sick of your religion, religion, religion, while you go right on sinning. When you put on your next prayer performance, I’ll be looking the other way. No matter how long or loud or often you pray, I’ll not be listening...” (Isaiah 1:13-15 MSG)
...HE DOESN’T WANT A SHOW. HE WANTS OUR HEARTS.
Want to be a radical Christian? Don’t look to trending Christian culture as a manual. You can’t pin radical Christianity like your favorite recipe or DIY. Look to Jesus Christ – the Author and Perfecter of your faith (Heb. 12:2).
Only the revelation of the glory of the Risen King Jesus will do if being consumed with passion is the end we seek. Only un-tinted, soul-altering, paradigm-shifting, idol-breaking, slit-side and nail-pierced-hands-feeling experience with Jesus will do. And to the one who has truly placed his hands in Christ’s side, and to the one who has truly put his fingers in the holes of Christ’s hands belongs a revelation that will not fail Him… yet it will destroy him, stripping him of all he owns. For that one, the one to whom Christ has revealed Himself, the only response that person will manage to muster is “here am I, send me!” For the one who has met Jesus face-to-face, worldly pleasures will be forsaken at the drop of a hat for the pleasure of Christ’s presence.
You can have works and not know God… But when you DO know Him – what a seriously blessed thought – works will inevitably, naturally, organically, flood out of you. A friend of mine recently put it this way: “When it comes to following Christ, good things are good only in so much as they are oriented by what is best, that is, a love for God.”
Hearts that are consumed by an encounter with the Risen Jesus Christ are hearts that will inevitably find their mission irreversibly intertwined with that of God’s. What breaks Him will break you. He breaks for bare feet and dirty water. He breaks for Africa and Skid Row. He breaks for impoverished coffee farmers and sweatshop laborers.
So in the midst of our social-justice-driven generation let the church bells resound with the thud of the question: “where’s your heart?” Wear your TOMS, drink your coffee fair-trade, and blog on your MacBook pro… but wear, drink, and blog because you’ve had an undeniable encounter with the grace of King Jesus. Not because you want people to think you did. Or because you want to think you did.
Take all that you are and offer it to all that He is. Steadily, faithfully, lavishly. With dogged resolve in valleys and green pastures. The life of radical abandon is one that has walked so steadily so long with Jesus that on a dime it would do anything Jesus asks. To ask the veteran Jesus follower to sell, give, or lose all is to ask little, for He has the supreme treasure of Christ. If he loses anything he has lost nothing.
God doesn’t want cookie-cutter lovers with no heart and soul. He wants you. Every piece of you - every flaw. So run to him. Take your cultural relevance with you, because you’ll need it… God will you use in any condition. All you have to do is run. – Jayson Schmidt