I’m tired of telling people how to be good people. When I do it, I feel like I’m preying on the low self-esteem of those who just want to do the right thing and are berated for inevitably failing. When I tell them how to do the right thing in the right way, I’m just preaching the law to those in need of grace. Sometimes I feel like I’m just encouraging the lie that if people get their acts together, God might deign to throw some acceptance their way.
In that scenario–at best–I’m a self-help guru, not a pastor. When we become exclusively obsessed with morality and getting better, we become self-proclaimed culture warriors and the pulpit just becomes a pedestal from which we throw out weekly gripes at the audience: Too much side-boob on television, a gay guy sold me my coffee, kids these days! Clang, clang, clang.
I heard that kind of thing a lot growing up, and all it did was make me neurotic. I know now that kind of message isn’t the only game in town, but some don’t. And they still listen, maybe hoping for a scrap of truth among all the worthless words to get them through the week, but people mostly just wander away, shaking their heads.
Someone wrote that we’re the generation of the Doneswhen it comes to religion. We’re just done. I don’t blame us. Religion can suck.
I left that space in-between the paragraph for you to lecture me. Tell me how I’m self-centered, negative and don’t understand what it means to be a real Christian, and that it’s not about me, it’s about Jesus. All that’s true, and I know it. But it doesn’t mean I’m wrong about this.
We draw God in very straight lines when he’s made of living water no container can hold. Me, personally? I don’t need constant lectures, I need the wild, untamed love of Christ. I need the pastor to have the look of fear one has in their eyes when working with old dynamite that may well explode at any moment. I need brothers and sisters who aren’t afraid to dance from joy, even if it means missing a step or two. I need a family, not an accountability group.
You don’t have to be hip or give me coffee. I wouldn’t say no to donuts, but that’s because donuts are great, not because they bring me to church. I can get donuts, sans the guilt, a quarter mile from my house. What else you got? Keep your shame and manipulation while you’re at it… Just give me Jesus.
So often, we’ve had the opportunity to see this amazing gift of God’s grace—Jesus—and we choose instead to share messages of judgment and fear. I’m tired of judging and being judged. I’m tired of telling people how to get better in five easy steps. I just want to tell you the Truth—and Jesus said that was Him.
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