Monday, December 8, 2008

No Room For Pretending...

I am going to share something that hit me after reading from 'Messy Spirituality'-author: Mike Yaconelli. Now what I like about this book is the truth that can be found in each page of his writings. For some it would be radical and shocking, but for those in ministry, it's the 'messy truth' about ministry.
It would seem that there's an unwritten rule that exists among Christian circles and churches around the country. Pretend. It's where you ACT as though God is control of your life when you really don't believe He is. It's giving the impression that everything is okay when it's not. In our brokenness find a smile and tough it out. Pretend you believe when you doubt; hide imperfections and maintain the image. I think we do too much of that day in and day out. It's easier to pass someone in the mall or grocery store and go through the motions when they ask: 'hey, how are you?' And you answer 'I'm doing fine thank you.' Rather than 'burdening' them with your 'petty' issues or troubles.
It's interesting how today's culture really puts an emphasis on 'image'. You've seen it in the beer commercials or cigarette ads:drink this-get the girls, smoke this-you're cool! The irony is too often we don't know who we are because in our search we've given into things that were easier, but lead us down a path of brokenness and regret.
The truth is that pretending is practical-it's uncomplicated and quick. It has become the 'grease' of relationships-it gives the illusion of a relationship by connecting us on the basis of who we aren't. Here's a good example: FACEBOOK or MySpace
People are able to become who they aren't and give others the impression they're this or that. The same application can be made about going to church too. Going to church on Sundays gives the illusion that we're there for God, to worship, to grow, but in reality, we're a broken people who seek only to keep up an image that is nothing like us.
Think about it, if we were half as committed to God as we were to a basketball team or football team we'd be able to quote scripture instead of tenured coaches, records, and championships. If everything was stripped away and we came to God with where we truly were rather than where we want everyone to think we would have a true community of believers who didn't care if you wore jeans to church because that outward appearance didn't matter-your heart does.
I think it's time we stopped pretending and remembered God's church is the Body of Christ-broken, searching, longing, forgotten, lost; not the embodiment of the same ideals that only care about outside or image. God doesn't care if you have all the money, have it all and those that seem to have it all are usually just as lost or broken as those with little or nothing.
In closing I would like to share with you this quote from Henry Nouwen: 'He who thinks that he has finished is finished. Those who think that they have arrived, have lost their way. Those who think that they have reached their goal, have missed it. Those who think they are saints, are demons.'


Matt said...

That's a great point about the sports teams. How many people would skip watching a game just because they're tired?

I like the sports analogy though. The Detroit Lions still have die hard fans, but a lot of Christians spend their time 'pretending' in spite of everything God has done.

Chris said...

Woo Hoo!!! Preach It! I think the church needs to continue to hear things like this - until we're able to sit and talk about them, really making changes in how we approach The Throne of God.