|Posted on June 4, 2014 at 12:50 AM|
I don’t know about you, but if you go to any given Christian Sunday service (and it doesn’t almost even matter which denomination), you get the same picture pretty much everywhere: A nice service with nice people and a nice message. You can’t really say much against it, but then again – also not much for it. It’s all about love, forgiveness, nice & touching emotional stories and the like. Again: in and of itself that’s not really wrong. Is it not?
Let’s look back how Christianity started. Jesus’ radical call to give up everything – wealth, family and even life – to follow Him. Discipleship as the living symbol of the great Christian paradox: Die to live. Lives that spoke through their own examples, sermons that set hearts on fire, evangelizing at the cost of one’s life. Read the testimonies of the early Christian martyrs and weep.
What is left? Not much I dare say. Nice meetings, big events that don’t really say much nor do they have any lasting effects, church congregations that haven’t heard the words “hell”, “Satan”, “damnation”, “sin” for decades – not to speak of a godly sexuality and a Christian life. Right, Jesus is all about love. The hippie-like Jesus that paints everything rose. Who cares that back in the days Jesus could get really angry, spoke about Satan and hell like no other and did not care to shy away butts from the church benches as long as He had it right with God.
As to the Bible – well, technically it is still around, but man did they make something out of it. Back then it was a book that changed lives and gave people spiritual food. Now everything is “re-interpreted”. The biblical stories had been written by humans in their own historical and cultural circumstances. You can’t take that at face value and for sure it is not valid anymore. What’s left is that fuzzy “love”-feeling. Who cares that love in the biblical context is not a fuzzy feeling but a covenant where a person gives himself or herself in a life-giving manner reflecting the love that Jesus has for His bride, the Church – and in the marital context this love becomes so much “one flesh” that you have to give it a name nine months after – reflecting the trinity.
Don’t get me wrong – historical and cultural Bible interpretation has its place – but it is only ONE of many different aspects that need to be taken into account when studying the Bible. If you knock it down at that – and at that only – then you can throw away the whole book. If there are no lasting standards that no generation is allowed to change and that are valid across the centuries, then you can throw away the whole book.
Or – in other words: Then Christianity becomes the “me, myself & I” wellness-Christianity, where it is all about how I feel good about it, which church congregation offers me the best program, how the psalms give me feel-good-messages, how I can even mix things up with Zen-Buddhism, Yoga, pagan and even occult religious practices – or simply my own preferences, feelings and experiences. In other words: it all comes down to the satanic “do what you want” cult – with the sad side-effect that most are not even aware of that and would ascribe such thoughts to radical “fundamentalists”.
That’s the bad part of it. But then you have also the small gate to heaven that Jesus mentioned that few people will pass. Yes, they might be few, but they exist and they will get there.
You want to be one of the gang? Then go and check out what real discipleship is all about. Tell Jesus you want it, you want HIM and Him alone and that you are willing to give up everything for Him. And then let Him work in and through you. Yes, you will have to face consequences for that. People will mock you at best, or even harm you physically. You will lose everything and it won’t “feel good”. But then again you will find a sort of satisfaction that is beyond spiritual wellness. A satisfaction that unites you with Jesus’ life on the deepest level – the joy, the humility, the courage, but also the redemptive suffering.
You want all of that? Be careful before you answer. Because a “yes” might cost you everything – and give you everything: eternal life.