I’m growing more and more disenfranchised with North American Christianity (the only Christianity I know). I don’t think Facebook helps me. It seems there is nothing someone doesn’t have an opinion on. And it seems everyone is right. I grow tired and frustrated because although learning and challenging your faith is good for your own development, I think for the most part we are missing the boat. This all started with a conversation on my Facebook wall where someone said that only Christians can display the fruit of the Spirit. Their argument was based on the idea that you can’t display a fruit of the Spirit if you support a sinful lifestyle and worship false idols? I responded like this:
“I have yet to meet a Christian that doesn’t support sinful lifestyles or worship false gods. I do these all of the time. From speeding willingly to lying, from thinking I’m better than others (smarter, cooler, I’m right they are wrong) to worse without knowing. I suspect even my lifestyle is sinful because I spend my money on holidays and a nice house rather the poor and widowed.”
Does Theology matter? Don’t freak out teachers and professors. Obviously having correct theology is a great starting point but it seems like Christians are becoming obese with Theology. We love talking theology; arguing about theology and being right, but is that the point? We’ve become book smart, ready for any debate but in the practicing/living out of our faith we are more times than not useless.
Drive to any typical North American church and in the parking lot you will most likely find nice new vehicles. Go in and you’ll see nice suits, expensive jeans, hair that has been styled with most likely an expensive hair product line. These signs are almost used a sign or metric of how successful your church is. It’s a point of pride for some. I wonder how God feels about this.. In Matthew 25 we see the iconic verse that says whatever we do to the least of these we do to God. I wonder how poor, broken and needy people feel when nice cars drive by without noticing them only to park as close as they can to the entrance of their church.
Mark is a scary book, or at least it should be to North American Christians. In Chapter 12 we find the story of a lady giving virtually nothing to Jesus as an offering. In comparison the rich people threw in large amounts yet Jesus wasn’t impressed. In fact he said they gave out of wealth, big deal. She put in everything she had. A few chapter’s earlier we find the story of the rich young man asking how he can get to Heaven…Why does this verse not scare us as much as it should? If you read the story it’s actually remarkable. A rich young ruler comes to God very humbly. It says he bows and eagerly runs up to Jesus. This isn’t a pompous person trying to show God how important he is. This is a guy genuinely curious as to what it takes to get to Heaven. What does Jesus say? Sell everything you have, help the poor and your treasure will be Heaven.
“But I tithe 1o percent and even give on top of that.” Well how much do we spend on ourselves? Look I’m not coming down on anyone that has money. I’m a capitalist, and have been fortunate enough to earn a comfortable living. This is exactly what scares me. My wife and I give a lot, but we spend a lot on ourselves. Whether it be a house that is bigger than we need (practically every house in North America), buying bigger, nicer vehicles than we need, our clothes, our holidays, the list can seriously keep going, most of us definitely don’t give as much as we could because it affects our lifestyle.
So I wonder if our Theology even matters if we’re missing a key point to our faith. It’s not about our comfort. When Jesus said take up your cross and follow me to the rich man the cross was not a gold plated piece of art for his mantle. The cross implies that this is a faith of self-sacrifice.
Sure we can argue about pacifism, celebrating Halloween, or who the Anti-Christ is but I’m sure none of this will even matter when we are before God. What’s even more scary is I’m sure when I say that we gave to our church and other ministries God might have the same response that he did in Mark. You gave out of wealth…The problem I’m really having with my own lived out version of Christianity is I could realistically give more by spending less. I could take holidays at my house instead of spending thousands to travel.
So what really matters? Is it your church size? Your sound equipment? Your light show? How cool/nice your clothes are? How much you make? Being comfortable? Having nice things? Knowing exactly what God thinks on any hot issue topic?
I’m worried that I look like an annoying brat to God. Arguing fruitless theological ideas and judging sins and others while in the comfort of my leather chair in front of (whatever luxury you have). Have you ever tried to take something from a spoiled kid? I bet you’re reading this going “well I don’t have to give more”, or “my lifestyle is fine”… Perhaps our Christian culture has made us all spoiled brats. We’ve put capitalism before Christianity. There really is nothing worse than privilege without responsibility.
Do you want to get to Heaven? Be smart. Tithe. Volunteer. Be a good person. Have nice things. Take great holidays because you deserve a break. I wish. If you want to go to Heaven sell everything you have, give to the poor, take up your cross and follow Christ. Hard isn’t it.
7 DIFFERENCES Pope Francis Has Made in One Appearance!
1. Changed the Golden Throne by a wooden chair…Something more appropriate for the disciple of a carpenter.
2. Did NOT want the Gold-Embroidered Red Stole, Heir of the Roman Empire …,NOR the Red Chasuble.
3. Uses Same Old Black Shoes, not the classic red.
4. Uses a Metal Cross, NOT one of rubies and diamonds.
5. His Papal Ring is Silver, NOT GOLD.
6. Uses the Same Black Pants Under the Cassock, to Remember That He Is a Another Priest.
7. Removed the Red Carpet.
He is not interested in fame & applause.