April 14, 2004, 8:14 am
Filed under: uncategorized

There was a time a few years ago when I was waking up to a lot of the deficiencies of what the church has become. I began seeing things along different lines. I became aware of a movement of God in a different way than I had been told God moves. So I read the hip books on postmodernism, visited the websites, and engaged in the conversations going on. I changed my approach to faith, to life. I’ve since seen this “movement” as much more than simply an outgrowth of postmodernism, and I certainly never identified myself as an advocate of that philosophical/cultural shift. I simply think that it is what it is, and I would do well to understand it and approach my world with that understanding.

Anyway, during my waking up period I went through what I call the “angry young man” phase. I’ve watched many of my contemporaries go through it. It’s the phase of seeing the kind of wreckage that modernity, consumerism, and cultural imperialism has brought about in the church and the world that the church seeks to impact. I got over it. I’m not an angry young man any more.

Since my angry young man phase, I’ve grown a lot, stripped down a lot of assumptions, and settled out a lot of what I believe about Jesus and the people of God. I’ve left my position as a church staff member at a mainstream church, and begun the life of starting a new community from the ground up. I’ve developed a brighter view of the possibilities before us. I’m excited about the opportunities for us to live the Kingdom and be followers of Jesus in ways that really make sense. I want to invite others to join me in a new discovery of some things I previously thought were old hat.

All that is great . . . except that I think I’ve officially become an angry young man again (o.k., so I may not qualify as young any more). Yep, you can call me one pissed off hombre. I won’t take the time to go into the stories here, but I’ve had a couple of experiences in the past few days that have reminded me of all the B.S. that our Christian ghetto culture has brought about. Despite some careful and consistent efforts at honest, non-judgmental, non-threatening relationships with people who don’t follow Jesus, I’ve gotten lumped into the category of “what Christians are like,” and it sucks.

I hate being a Christian right now. Being a Christian apparently means that I label the real world as unrighteous. Being a Christian apparently means that I lack compassion for people. Being a Christian apparently means that I’m ready to pounce on people for saying “the wrong thing”. It means that I’m well equipped with a bunch of manipulative sales pitches aimed at getting people to pray a quick prayer so I can add another notch in my holier-than-thou gunbelt.

Let me be clear. I love Jesus. I am passionate about following him with my whole life. I want nothing more than to see him lifted up as the radical breath of fresh air that a suffocating world needs. I suck at following him most of the time, but I want to get better.

But I’m sick of having my best efforts at living as a light spoiled by the weight of expectations of what other “Christians” have created for me. Once I lived a life of desperation, and my encounter with Jesus rescued me from myself. Now I’m waiting for him to rescue me from the stupidity of people who claim to follow him.

I’ll stop this rant before I get out of control. There’s more brewing, which is a good thing. I am just grasping for a rationale, a way of moving forward, a way of maintaining hope.


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