I was laying on the couch in my office today working on my class for tomorrow night. While I was trying to relax my mind so I could work I stared up at the bookshelf at the end of my couch. Some of the books are mine, some were required for college, and then there are quite a few from the last minister that was in this office. I looked over some of the titles: Magnificant Prayer, Dangerous Devotions, Hot Illustrations for Youth Talks, and the list went on and on.
The question that popped into my head is, “What is the point or purpose of all these books and why are the titles so rediculous?” I mean come on “Dangerous Devotions?” Why all the sensationalism. What’s wrong with being real and having a discussion. Have we as ministers become so wrapped up in being relevant and entertaining that we have forgotten what we are supposed to be doing?
Walk into any Christian bookstore and go to the Youth section and you will see rows of books that remind me of that one kid in high school who had almost no social skills but not only wanted to be accepted but popular and wasn’t quite sure how. So instead of being themselves they tried way to hard to be something they weren’t and it only made the problem worse. You could tell he was trying too hard to get people to like him, and all that did was really make it harder to like him. (That may or may not have been me)
Anyway, I don’t understand why we feel the need to sensationalize Christianity or make it some sort of extreme sport or lifestyle? As a Christian in America you are going to experience very little persecution other than maybe social. No one is going to kick down your door because you have 2 people more than you are allowed to have in your house.
Why can’t we be honest about what Christianity is? That’s not rhetorical because I really wonder. In the beginnings yeah it was hardcore to do the Christian thing. But now not so much. Are there places you can live where its worse? Well yeah, if you go live in a Muslim theocracy you are going to have a bad time.
Let’s just be honest here for a minute, or at least I’m going to be honest for me. I don’t consider Christianity such an extreme lifestyle. To me Extreme means doing things you really shouldn’t do with things that shouldn’t be able to do it. That’s pretty much the antithesis of what a Christian is. We are striving to live lives exactly as they were designed to be lived. Is that hard work, well yeah it is, because there are easier ways to do it, but they aren’t the right way and they never really work out. Not because of some sort of diving punisher, but simply because that’s not what we were designed to be.
I wonder, do we have it too easy? Are we making things more EXTREME than they need to be because we feel like we need to ‘earn’ our faith. We too often forget that our marching orders are “Be Still and know” and to be “anchored” and “To Stand” No parkour, no backflips, no hand to hand combat. And to suggest so is dishonest.
I don’t know, I just think its time for us to be honest. Living the way were designed is confusing and hard and tiring. Its not extreme, most of the time it doesn’t really take all that much courage. What it takes is commitment and endurance and dedication. It takes a locked jaw will that says I will not take the easy way I will do things right. It takes a humility to say that I did things the easy way and now I need to fix the mess and then do it the right way from now on. And it also means I’m going to take things as they are not as I want them to be so that I FEEL like I’m doing what I’m supposed to do.
I guess I would like to see us, maybe just as youth ministry, start being a little more honest. Christianity isn’t a big fun party and its not a gauntlet of misery either. You don’t have to be a drug addict to have a powerful “witness.” And you don’t need a book full of interesting stories to make the word relatable. Be honest about what you gain from choosing this life and let the Holy Spirit work.
This is what you get when I write stream of conciousness lol