There are two common, yet confusing ideas that make it hard for would-be disciples of Jesus to feel that they can actually be successful at this Christianity thing.
The first one is the “my behavior saves me” idea. This thought (or belief) leads you to live with the burden of performing for God so that He will observe your behavior, find it acceptable and then be obligated to reward you with … (eternal life, short-term rewards, etc.). In other words, I did what He required so He will do what He promised. Continue reading “What we ‘do’ does matter.”
Growing up in a Christian family, my views of God, myself and the world around me were pretty well dominated by my experiences and impressions of church. That’s not necessarily a bad thing; I’ve met and know a lot of really nice people in church. Still, my church experiences (church meetings, church sermons and Sunday School lessons, church relationships, church conflicts) were a pair of glasses affecting what and how I could see.
God seemed to be small enough and limited enough to be constrained within the priorities and practices of our church and the lives of these people. God really didn’t seem to have much interest in more than us, our meetings, our church building, etc. I know this sounds strange, even egotistical, as though we were the center of everything. Really it was that I had seen and understood so little of what God was up to that I thought we were mainly ‘it’ for him.
With a few more years, a few more experiences with God, and a lot more time learning to think through the biblical material, things look very different! Continue reading “There may be more to this ‘Christianity’ thing than you thought.”
If you have very much exposure or involvement in modern, Western religious communities (notably Christian ones) you may have noticed a strange and troubling phenomena; these people often don’t do very well at ‘practicing what they preach!” Or more accurately, they struggle to practice what has been preached at them.
This situation produces awful fallout. The non-religious (or at least non-Christian) onlookers are generally unimpressed with the high sounding claims to truth and divine revelation brandished by these supposedly ‘born again, Spirit-filled, children of God.’ And, equally sad is the state of apathy and discouragement that these believers sink into as they find that their hopes and expectations for ‘new life’ are dashed on the rocks of their relatively unchanged lives. Continue reading “Something is terribly wrong.”