something a little bigger than politics
November 09 2006
From years of observing organized, American Christian subculture, I assumed that being a follower of Christ meant participating in religiously charged political battles such as the fight to keep the 10 Commandments in public places and prayer in schools. When I looked at Jesus, He seemed more concerned with feeding the hungry. I assumed that Christianity was about stewardship campaigns to raise huge sums of cash to build large church buildings for people to attend so they can participate in a class that will teach them the five points to living a â€œbetter life.â€ Jesus said sell everything you have and give your money to the poor. I thought church was about making sure the choir sang well, the budget balanced, the sermons challenged but didnâ€™t offend and always making the annual church hog-roast better than last year. I discovered that Jesus was more interested in defending the weak and marginalized. I could go on, because my box was quite full. As I unpacked the box, and stacked its contents up against the Jesus I rediscovered in scripture, I soon realized that God no longer fit in that box. He was so much more than, and nothing like, the religious ideology I had packaged Him with. And I discovered that I have so much more to learn, un-learn and re-learn about my faith.
I am not condemning political pursuits that seek to preserve the Christian history of our nation. Nor am I opposed to building churches and structures where believers gather for worship. And based upon my fondness for organization, Iâ€™m certainly in favor of a balanced budget in my church. Yet, as I stripped my faith down to its very core, I discovered significant differences in what was important to me compared to what was important to Jesus. But most disturbingly, I saw a vast difference between how He lived out His message compared to how I was living His message.
So Iâ€™m on a quest; a quest to unlearn my misconceptions about what being a follower of Jesus looks like; a quest to relearn everything I can about what and who Jesus cared about; and a quest to learn what was important to Him and what wasnâ€™t. I no longer believe we are called to live a â€œreligiousâ€ life. But rather, as followers of Jesus, I believe we are compelled to live a life that reflects the passions that were evident in His life, even if those passions donâ€™t always align with the passions of organized religion. And what Iâ€™ve learned so far has convinced me that this journey has and will continue to change the way I think about my faith, and ultimately, how I live in response to the life of Jesus. Although I donâ€™t know how Godâ€™s presence in my life will finally look at the end of this journey, I do know one thing: Heâ€™s not going to fit in my box anymore.