Longing For Depth in Christian Culture

I hate to say it, friends, but it's true. I'm longing for something more.

Something deep.

Something true.

Something real. 

I've come to the well, thirsty, and have drunk, deep-gullet mouthfuls of the springs of the waters of eternal life. And I am mystified. 

Truly mystified. 

Why are we selling Jesus short? Why are we selling Jesus at all?

It seems we're worried about getting the messy all over our clothes and have decided that what people want to see are happy Christians because then they'll want to be happy too.

They'll want to see us sitting in our big, perfectly kept houses (because, #blessed) so they will be drawn to Jesus too.

They'll want to know we're properly behaved. That'll draw them in. Right? Wrong.

Stop it. It's fake. It's not real. 

You know it.

I know it. 

What do we do then?

Be honest. Broken. Redeemed. Sloppy. Saved. Messy (as much as I've grown to hate that word now). A recipient of the miraculous.  

Jesus isn't some half-baked, self-help, do-it-mostly-yourself, 12-steps-to-a-better-life kind of Savior.

He's the King of the universe. He is the author of creation. He is the very reason you have life in your body. Stop selling it short.

After I became a Christian, I did not have a smile plastered on my face 24-7, nor did I become some silly baking housewife. I cried tears, almost endlessly, because my family gave me up because I chose Jesus. I suffered rejection. I went through a financial desert and I lost an inheritance. Lost my friends, community and more. My health was crap. I lay on a sickbed with my tears as my food.

But inside, inside I was a renewed person, a changed life. I had gone from death to life. Though tired and strung out from fatigue, I had a fire, a sense of purpose, burning inside of me. No longer was I dead in sins and trespasses, leading a dead-end life, walking the one way street that leads to hell. No longer was I sitting in darkness. For my soul, it had been healed. I had been snatched from the jaws of certain destruction and had been given a new song to sing. I am in awe of it everyday. 

Yet, what I see is that we are much more concerned with rule-following than with Christ-following. More concerned about external than internal. More careful to keep the room sterilized with its sanitized goodness. And the words ring hollow, and yet very clear, that if you have problems there must be something wrong with you. That you aren't trying, praying, doing something well enough to make your hard way better. 

Did you know that Jesus doesn't exist to make you happy? That your problems don't go away once you're saved? But that Jesus will now walk beside you and comfort you through whatever loss He asks you to walk through? And that salvation is eternal, heaven is real and that you'll walk the streets of gold one day? 

So much of what we're going through is just temporary. We don't follow Jesus for a big house, a shiny car or lots of happy middle-class friends. Jesus is life. Stop treating Him like a box of crafts you're determined to sell, but whose quality is lackluster. Jesus doesn't need fixing. His image doesn't need our help. We're not doing a very good job.

Which leads me to the title of this post. I am hungry for depth in Christian culture. Rampant guitar solos. (Just ask my husband, it's true). Passion. Truth. Honesty. A reckless abandon. A willingness to discuss the hard topics like divorce, abuse, abortion, homosexuality and addiction. A Christianity which is not thought up in the board meetings of corporate America as to how to sell, sell, sell. And this might not win me any friends. And I know that. But I'm hungry for more.

I want to know the souls who were lost and who now have a ticket to glory burning a hole in their pocket. Who have tasted the heavenly gift and who have the Spirit of God in their heart. Who know the mundane and the earthly things are not to be compared with the awesome and exceeding worth of their Father's love. Who know, truly know, that the only thing that was standing between us and the pit was the spilled blood of our Precious Savior. 

Who don't have to cover over the brutality of His death with something nice. Who don't need for this whole mess of humanity to be entertained by a slick presentation of our Savior. Who don't feel the need to add that something extra. Who aren't putting on a show. Or make believe. Or pretend. 

Who can't wait to invite others in or to go help others out of the slavery of human trafficking. Or who are dying to put an end to the blight of abortion in this land. Who are less worried about cuss words than they are the spilling of blood that occurs on our streets every day. Who love the homeless and who welcome the hungry into their world. Who want to show Jesus to the downtrodden, the imprisoned and the sick. 

Oops. Did I go too far? 

I'm tired of putting a spigot on our passion because it might look undignified. Was it dignified when Jesus hung on the cross? What about when early Christians were fed to the lions? Were they a bit fanatical? Or are we just lukewarm?

Why are we so careful? Careful to present, position and posture? It's not doing the trick. 

Neither is education. 

The apostles were men, unlettered and ordinary, but the reason they made the leaders stop in their tracks is because when they acted and when they spoke, it was with power. Power that only God can give. They didn't speak in well-rehearsed speeches or in sales pitches designed to be effective. They didn't have to. And yet, they were able to change the world. It's because what they had was enough. What they had was Jesus.  

The good news is that we do too. 

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