(King Pen says nobody will get my LoTR pun. I disagree. He can’t appreciate the broad NERD appeal of this blog the way you and I can. Heh. Anyway, on with the post.)
There is a collection of videos on Godtube about two types of Christians. The series is a parody of the Mac and PC commercials. The “PC” character is the traditional, conservative Christian. The “Mac” character is the new contemporary “Christ-Follower”.
It is unflattering, of course, to the traditional Christian. Stuffy, formal, awkward– dressed in a suit, totally uncool and uptight, basically clueless, and amazingly narrow-minded. Every bad stereotype rolled into one. The contemporary Christ Follower is much more enlightened in his casual wear, his mellow attitude, and bemusement at his counterpart. The role of the “Christ Follower” is to throw off the title “Christian” and all it’s unpleasant connotations. As a matter of fact, the series is called “Christian No More”, if I am reading that correctly.
I can understand the objective- to present to the world a brand of Christianity minus the hypocrisy and lack of grace and forgiveness and charity. Minus the SIN. To show the world JESUS, without all our own failings and ignorance getting in the way. But it doesn’t work like that. It can’t– because we’re fallen and imperfect. We can’t escape our faults by changing our name from “Christian” to “Christ- Follower”. T-shirts and flipflops in church won’t elevate us above pride and hypocrisy. Hanging out in a sanctuary filled with couches instead of pews (yes, that’s a real church in Dallas, I believe) doesn’t make our worship more genuine and acceptable to God. Abandoning archiac “high-church” music and liturgy for the new, contemporary choruses and praise bands doesn’t make it BETTER. It makes it different, which is a very diplomatic choice of words for me. We have watered down what could be a veritable FEAST of worship on Sundays in many contemporary services. I will not open that pandora’s box on this blog, but I will say that I think much of the current worship lineup in a contemporary church is way off-base. Maybe I’ll go into that later, if I’m feeling brave.
Anyway, my point is, it doesn’t matter how much we redefine ourselves, it doesn’t change the fact that what’s wrong with Christianity isn’t fixable by a name change. The church is full of sinners. It is, in fact, the very reason we gather– our need for salvation, for forgiveness, for redemption. It is our sin that drives us to those doors, begging for entrance. Is it any wonder that you find the full spectrum of sin within it’s walls?
To make Christianity more appealing to the world by saying you won’t find those things with the NEW Christian, the Christ Follower… well, it’s just a lie. It’s false advertisement. It’s nothing new, of course. . It’s just that so many people are buying into the new idea of holy, so much so that anything else seems laughable, and that is a great tragedy. “Christ Followers” are separating themselves from something none of us can escape… sin.
We’ve been in a dozen churches in the last nine months looking for a place to move our membership. We’ve been to six different denominations. We’ve experienced the full range of services and theologies and fellowships… and I can tell you this, I’ve ready for a church home. It won’t be perfect, it won’t be filled to the brim with enlightened, self-actualized Christ Followers in jeans who all listen to U2 and have 5 o’clock shadows. It will be a body of believers united by their love for God, sharing in their desperate need for Him, seeking ways to glorify Him in their weaknesses. Christians.
And to my thinking, that’s not such a bad thing to be a part of. I’ll let God handle the PR.