Sometimes, We Suck
AUGUST 31, 2017
I don’t feel like writing about religion.
I spend a lot of time on social media because that’s my day job. I follow a lot of Christians (I accept your condolences). And most of them are griping about something. I’m not talking about the cries for justice, or standing up for the weak and disenfranchised. Just the normal petty arguments about theological differences that aren’t that big a deal, arrogant know-it-all posts, and making sure everyone knows they, personally, are against every sin known to man. Listen, I love my faith. I love Jesus. I just don’t feel like writing about it.
Yeah, I’m still here though. Writing. This Jesus thing is important stuff. Not that I’m the sole sane or proper voice or anything. I’m also angry, arrogant, and full of myself. I just either have a whiff of self-awareness or am a big ole weenie, depending on your perspective. What makes me mad about all these things isn’t just the constant whining or pride involved, it’s the fact that we’re obviously worshipping something other than Jesus.
Some of us worship our denomination and the particulars of the way we do religion as much or more than Jesus. At least that’s what it seems like. That’s like pouring a delicious bowl of healthy cereal, then eating the bowl. I can promise you no one actually cares about how your denomination does this or that except people in your denomination and other denominations who are equally as fascinated by the way they do things. But they’d care about Jesus—about hope, forgiveness, and reconciliation.
Some of us worship our knowledge. We’ve read more books on theology than most people have read, well, anything. We can quote Augustine and Luther at length, know Calvin’s favorite Hostess fruit pie (apple), and know so much systematic theology we come to believe it’s the same thing as knowing God. As much as I personally love theology and some of those dead religious folks, and as much as I believe good doctrine keeps a church sane, academia ain’t the Christian life. The soul who’s searching for meaning doesn’t need a lecture on soteriology. But they’d care about Jesus—about hope, forgiveness, and reconciliation.
Some of us worship our goodness. We go to church every Sunday, and the most severe of this group wouldn’t know a pint from a pitcher, have no idea how much a pack of cigarettes cost, and are certain those who disagree will spend an eternity rightly roasting in an eternal flame. Our so-called faithfulness can become a source of pride, not love. Instead, surprising faithfulness is part of being a follower of Jesus. The Spirit is working in us to make us more like God. Our acts of love can be a light revealing God’s care for the world. There’s a big difference in talking to a person with whom you’ve earned the right to be heard about some sin in their lives you worry is harmful and talking down to a stranger you think is bad. Holier-than-thou lectures on sin never did nothing but make the listener’s eyes roll at the puritanical pride of the lecturer.
But they’d care about Jesus. Hope. Forgiveness. Reconciliation.
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