cultural christianity

12.06.2014 |

"the greatest single cause of athesism in the world today is "christians" who acknowledge him with their lips, but walk out the door and deny him by their life style.  that is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable." 
-dc talk

i have been thinking so much lately about what it truly means to be a christian.  if you don't know me, then you may not know that i don't consider myself a christian in the sense the world means christian.  i would rather refer to myself as a christ-follower.  though christian literally means "a follower of christ", i think the world "christian" has been watered down to be palatable to most everyone.

[start conversation] 
A: hey! who are you and what do you do? 
R: hi, my name is renee and i am a professional athlete.  
A: wow that is so cool.  tell me more. 
R: well, i have been running since i was in the 3rd grade.  it's more than a job, it's what i love. i have too many pairs of the exact same shoe and more spandex than a volleyball team.  you can usually catch me running around town at many hours of the day so just honk if you see me and i'll wave!  i even have a running blog to boast of my performances, do you want the link?   
A: oh i would love to check that out.  it must be hard having to be so dedicated all the time.  
R: well, yeah it is sometimes. i keep myself hydrated daily and carry around fruit-flavored water cause water sometimes gets boring.   i am religious about taking my iron so i stay at peak levels since i have chronic anemia.  i try to get 8 hours of sleep so my body properly recovers. i eat nutritious meals that help me recover.  i know it takes a lot of dedication to do what i do, but that's the life i love, and that is what it takes to be a professional athlete. 
A: that's awesome renee, can i see some race results or stats?

R: oh, i haven't run a race in a while, you know because i'm still training and making sure i am close to my PR, but i am a professional athlete.  you can google me to make sure if you don't believe me.  i know you have seen my running pictures and articles in the paper.  i am a professional athlete.   
A: oh yeah i will definitely look into that.  so who do you run for, like who are your sponsors and endorsements? 
R: i don't need sponsors.  i support myself.  oh my gosh, i am a professional athlete for crying out loud and don't lecture me on sponsorships.  i have been a professional runner for a long time, since i could basically walk. have you ever tried to run!?  i started running when i was in the second grade.  i can run a mile faster than you and 10 of your friends.  do you know how many pairs of running shoes i have owned in that time?  you asked me to tell you about me and i told you i was a professional runner and i am. why are you questioning me!? 
A: sorry, i just wanted to know a little bit more about you.  why are you getting so defensive.  i think it is cool you are a professional athlete, but you don't have sponsorships or any professional race results to actually prove that.  so basically me and could both be professional athletes at this rate. 
R: i'm done with the conversation. you are so ignorant.  you don't even understand.  i am a professional runner.  are you stupid or something? 
[end conversation]

now i know this is a ludicrous, and extremely prideful, conversation, but i want you to think about it for a minute.  can you relate to it?  replace professional athlete with "christian." now can you relate to it? yeah, if i'm honest, i relate far too well. 

all too often i see this reality in our world.  guilty, i stand here confessing to you that i throughout most of my life,  i professed to be a christian, while there was no action to back that supposed claim up.  i called myself a christian, yet i had nothing to show, no evidence, no proof of my transformation in christ.  i dotted my i's and crossed my t's on sunday, made sure i told God i was sorry and that i would try not to screw up the coming week, knowing very well the plans i wanted to carry out with no intention of serving christ.

christ himself is the evidence i need to be sure of my salvation, but if i am not actively living out that transformation, has there even been one? my heart breaks when i think of how many people thought i was a christian, and for them to witness the life i led.  to you, i'm sorry.  i became a christ-follower my senior year of college.  what you knew of me before is not an accurate reflection of the almighty jesus who transforms willing lives. what a poor example of christ i have been, and a huge turn off to those seeking refuge in the comfort of christ.

sure, i had a bible and had been baptized and went to church and youth camp and youth group and i volunteered and i said good things and memorized verses, but these were futile works, detestable works done in and of myself without the power of the lord working through it.  it all looked good, but was all in vain.  through all of this, there was still something missing: the true evidence of my heart being transformed by the gospel of jesus christ, the fruit of my salvation.  how can i call myself a christ-follower, if i'm choosing not to even follow the example he provided?

i stand here today, redeemed. no longer going through the motions of what america says a christian looks like, but viewing myself through the lens of christ .  i have surrendered my life to christ.  all i have is his.  i refuse to give into the cultural christianity around me, and i surrender this life to be used by christ for his purposes.

this might have been tough to read.  it was tough to write because of the reality of my actions before christ; however, i sit here before you, redeemed and forgiven by a loving and gracious God who desires nothing more than to have a personal relationship, not a religious self-serving relationship, with you and with me.  if you have been teetering on the sunday-fix, compartmentalized christian life, you're not alone.  there is refuge for you and forgiveness in christ.  come to him now.  he won't leave you the same.

have you ever gotten sucked up into american cultural christianity? 

♫ jesus, only jesus -matt redman 

1 comment

  1. i really like this post sis! just last night my high school students and i were talking about "who we say Jesus is", like when Peter finally confesses that [he] is God's Messiah. who WE say Jesus is in our lives is vital to our salvation... and it doesn't rest there. we must "take up our cross daily and follow him"-- and we like the wise man who built his house on firm foundation, we should put what we HEAR from God into practice so when the storms of life come, our faith does not waiver. i pray, as a community of believers and followers of Christ that we all stand up against blending in!


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