Thursday, January 24, 2013

I’m A Christian And I’m Sorry: An Open Letter to Those Wounded By The Body Of Christ


1 Corinthians 12:12-14 For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit. For the body is not one member, but many.

Who is this mysterious “Body”? What is She speaking as an entity in this hour? As I look around and see what the Christian majority say and do, I often feel like the Body of Christ has a severe identity crisis. She says one thing and does another. She condemns and calls out yet continually fails to love as She’s been loved-unconditionally. She critiques and judges but when the tables are turned She declares “How dare you!?!?” I believe that the entire world is watching and wondering what Christianity is today. What brand of Christianity is the real one? What denomination has it all right? Why do Christians have so much division, within themselves and with others outside of the Church? What moves Us, motivates Us and drives Us to speak and act as We do? Do We really think that We have all the answers and need to demand all others follow or else they’re damned? Is Our primary motivation releasing God’s Kingdom upon this earth or is it tradition and personal preference? Arrogance, pride and elitism seem to drive Us as a people and I believe that it grieves the heart of God.

I often get frustrated and ultimately saddened as I talk with people about the American brand of Christianity. It’s extraordinarily popular (not at all a narrow way that few are finding) and is primarily rooted in advancing a “Christianized” kingdom of men. It demands following a set of guidelines that almost always contradicts the teachings of Jesus. It calls you to elevate yourself (and your nation) to be a strong-willed overcomer that leads all others and never backs down from a confrontation. Most Believers hate to discuss this and over the years I’ve learned that offense is an absolute surety. I’ve received more verbal condemnation and experienced more juvenile name-calling from other Believers over questioning their personal beliefs than I’ve ever received from non-Believers when discussing Christianity. Some friends and family have clearly chosen to distance themselves from my wife and me for what we believe. It’s this lack of willingness to admit any possible error or to even discuss how biblical Christianity may differ from popular Christianity that I believe is leading the Body of Christ down a deeper and deeper pit of false representation of Jesus Christ. I will never be the absolute source for all that is Christianity. I’m flawed and only by God’s grace will I ever be empowered to share His truth accurately.

Where We all go from here is the challenge. It’s a challenge because it’s an individual decision to embrace the all-others-before-myself life that Christ modeled for us. It cannot be adopted as a church requirement or membership guideline. It’s not something that just happens either. One must deliberately choose to die to their own selfish desires and willingly abandon all that this temporal world has to offer our carnal pleasures for control, power and status. It’s appalling that the patterns of this world have simply been adopted by Christianity. Bigger, better, stronger is the Christian motto of the times. Be your best you! Win! Lead! Be the superior one in all you do! When I study the teachings of Christ, I just can’t buy into it. The world, this nation, our cities, our neighbors see Us as egotistical and judgmental and We’re somehow entirely OK with that. When do We embrace humility and become servants of all?

So I wonder, where are the ones willing to lay down their lives for others? Where are the ones who eagerly take the lower position in order for another to be lifted? Where are the Believers that would even consider setting aside their personal preferences for a moment in order to study and see if it is in alignment whatsoever with the Word of God? Where are the ones who are willing to openly assess whether or not their personal belief system and the actions that come out of it line up with what Jesus commands and instructs the Believer?  More and more I’m arriving at this destination: I cannot and will never be able to do anything about majority Christianity’s actions. Although compelled to address them since they say with their mouths that we share one Body, I’m beginning to call it what it is and tend to my own pursuit of dying to self and pursuing Christ-likeness. So with that in mind, I compiled a list of what I would like to say to others outside of the Church, moreso with my life than with my mouth. But I will start here and venture out to redefine who people have been led to believe the Body of Christ to be.

If the Body of Christ continues down this same path, unwilling to honestly and openly assess who We are and how the world sees Us, generations to come will grow more and more disinterested in the God that we profess to know and the Jesus that we claim to represent. Friends, we must fall to our knees and implore God to strip away all pretenses that hold us back from properly embodying His agenda in our generation. We cannot continue in our arrogance and pride as this age approaches its culmination.

The following posts in this series will address, categorically, how I’ve personally witnessed the Body of Christ respond to several issues and specifically, people groups for nearly forty years now (myself included, for many years). That’s followed by what my personal, deliberate response to these issues will be going forward. I implore you to take the time to read the Scriptures listed. If you skip over them, you miss the entire motive behind every topic addressed. If we Who profess to live as Christ do not adhere to His teachings above all other laws, teachings and traditions, we’ll be destined to continue failing to effectively show Christ to others as we have in the past.

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