I’ve been having doubts about all this. More often than not I find myself not knowing what to believe. Or rather, not knowing if I believe. Christianity. If you really step away from yourself and look in, Christianity is into some really weird shit! A couple Sunday’s ago I was about to take communion and had this thought, “To commemorate the death of a man I am symbolically eating his flesh and drinking his blood. WTF!?” What have I gotten myself into? It’s so good to doubt! You learn so much from the personal inquiry. But, that’s for another time.
I keep asking myself “Why?”
Why would I or anyone else want to be a Christian?
There are so many beautiful answers to that question.
The more authentic ones include wondrous stories of redemption; stories of failure; stories of coming to find light in the midst of the shadowy darkness of sin. Some have the blessing to have been brought up in the light of Christ their whole lives. For others it seems to be cultural, seemingly to have inherited the beliefs of their parents. For some, it was simply for the sake of not burning in hell. Turn or burn, am I right?
The truth is, a lot of Christians today might tell you that they did it to be saved or to be redeemed but when you look into their lives the reality of the decision they made seems to have drastically different intentions than what they let on. Often when I look into the lives of some Christians around me it seems like they took the plunge and drank the Koolaid so that they could be superior to everyone else or so that they could hopefully avoid the ‘flames’ and go on with life, business as usual. There’s often little to no change and the only real reasons seems to be self-centered.
If that’s the case, then what’s the point?
Christianity today seems to be nothing more than the syncretization of America’s lust for power, pleasure, and possessions along with a touch of spirituality and a ‘get out of hell free’ card. Our churches are full of proud and entitled men and women drunk on the influence they hold. The catholic church mimicked the power of the day— monarchies— by having a pope (king), cardinals (lords), etc… In the same way, our churches today operate more like Fortune 500 companies providing a shiny well packaged product to their consumers rather than being an actual body of Christ loving people desiring above all to be disciples.
Scripture tells us that the greatest commandment is to:
Simply put, you ‘love God’ by turning away from sin and living a life that is honoring to him. However, I feel that in our salvation we are so incredibly individualistic and go on being blind to the reality that in our salvation we are not only serving God in obedience but also making the decision to ‘love others’ in a way that is just as radical as the new found beliefs and traditions that come with being a Christian. Christianity is a call to servitude; to slavery not only to Christ but to one another.
In the midst of my doubts I have come to learn that Christianity is bigger than just me and God. He’s bigger than our “personal relationships” with him. He’s bigger than our churches. Christianity is a movement; a lifestyle; the medicine this world needs. But the only way to inoculate the world with the real message of Christ is to die to ourselves and build a culture of servants who love unconditionally. Bonhoeffer, a badass theologian, once wrote, “When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.”
We are called to love others like Christ loves us. Last I heard, Christ gave up his life and was brutally killed for you and me and everyone else. To love in this way is hard because at our cores we are incredibly selfish and prideful people. This pride often manifests itself in ways that we can’t really even see apart from Christ. All throughout our Bible, Paul equates being a Christian to being a soldier sharing in suffering; an athlete working hard to win a race; or a farmer whose harvest is reliant on the work that is put it in.
So this is how we should be answering that question… “Why be a Christian?”
Because I want to be part of something so much bigger than myself. Because I know that I am broken and need fixing. Because I want to love and be loved on this earth in a way that is heavenly. Because I want to do something amazing in this world not just for myself but for everyone I come in contact with. Because love is powerful and effective for change. Because I want to make the world a better place. If this is not something that you think you can work towards then I suppose that this, Christianity, is not for you.
There’s so much more to this than what I’ve been able to fit in this short blog and I’m so excited to be able to work more at fleshing this out in the months to come. Imagine it. Building a culture of people who love like Jesus did.
Is that as crazy sounding as I think it is?
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