Most readers of this blog reside in Western cultures, cultures that find Christianity on the decline. This is a driving factor in our recent posts promoting leaving Christianity for a life of following Christ. Christianity has ceded to the pressures of the secular world, it has been compromised. Conversely, following the way of Jesus permits no compromise. So before continuing on in your life, you must make a decision. Will you continue to live the life of a traditional western Christian or will you instead choose the radical, love infused way of following Jesus?
Perhaps you are uneasy with a call to turn from Christianity, but take a look at what modern Christianity typically represents: right wing conservative politics, bitter infighting, large buildings that drive most churches into large debt, comfortable homes in the suburbs, racial division along the lines of worship preference, a hierarchical view of sin (for example the belief that homosexuality is worse than lying, or that murder is more sinful than pride). I could go on for the entire length of this post, but the list is already sickening enough. Which items in the previous list (and feel free to add your own) look like the way in which Jesus lived? Which of these traits demonstrate the love of Jesus? I hope you begin to see my point about modern, Western Christianity. It is quite possibly too late to try and redefine the term ‘Christianity’. Thus, for those of us serious about truly following the way of Jesus, in loving the way Jesus did, we need a new term to help define our mission. I submit that we bring back the original term for Christians, that of “followers of the Way”.
We need to return to living in community with one another, caring for one another and sharing in the needs (physical, emotional, financial) of one another. True community is incredibly messy. It is life altering; it requires us to live outside of our comfort zones and in deference to one another. We need to say ‘no’ to expensive building projects so those seeking Jesus might be better entertained or more comfortable. If someone is choosing between Heaven and Hell, do you really think it matters in the slightest whether or not they are making that choice in an air conditioned padded seat or on a park bench? The modern church has totally lost its bearings and understanding of what is truly important to God, what we as church were really called to do.
No sin is greater than another in the eyes of God, and we are all guilty without the blood and love of Christ. We need to get over our judgment of others; we need to cross so-called “racial lines” to engage with those of different cultural backgrounds than our own. We need to share Christ by showing love to those in our neighborhoods and communities. We don’t need another mega church; we all are already part of the one church, the body of Christ. Instead of larger places of worship, we need smaller pockets of community. One church building will never change the world, but the Church can and will if we are simply following the Way!
What’s your take away, what do you do now? How is it you will choose to live? Will you go back to your daily life and comfortable church buildings? Or instead will you take the first steps of turning your neighborhood into a community of followers of the Way? Will you take the first step in redefining what you will do with Jesus? Do you want traditional Western style Christianity, or do you want to be a sold-out, burning flame of love as you seek to become a true follower of the Way of Jesus? It’s a no-brainer for me. I want to love as Christ did. I want to follow His way. I want to so closely follow in His footsteps that I (to quote Shane Claiborne) “get His dust on me.” How about you?