July 24, 2006

Authenticity

As a child I sat through my share of hellfire and brimstone preachers. Most ranted and stomped across the stage with more fury and passion than I saw anywhere else. It was interesting to watch this mild-mannered pastor suddenly transform into a ranting, sweating preacher. It was like they were taking on a preaching persona...in fact, they were!

Most people, postmodern or not, are seeking authenticity. They read blogs by "real" people. They watch "reality" television. They want pastors and churches that are "real."

There is this strange mix-up though. They want authenticity, but they don't want anything real. That may sound like an oxymoron, but it more like a true contradiction.

Blogs are just as real as news articles. People lie all the time on their blogs; just like the news media. People hide their ignorance on blogs; just like the everything else. Bloggers just happen to do it for free.

"Reality" television is simply not reality. Well, it is reality if reality comes with hours upon hours of editing. Notice there is alway conflict and action and no one ever going to the bathroom. Finding a place to relieve yourself on Vanuatu is reality.

Pastors and churches are "creating" an atmosphere that welcomes people. I am not saying this is wrong, just that it ought to come out of who we are, not what we want to see happen. Too often people try to create something because they "want to reach the lost." Instead of reaching the lost through who God has created them to be.

I have seen too many people trying to be "unoffensive" to the lost. Our message is offensive. We try to seek scientific reasoning to justify our belief. We use apologetics to convince others that our beliefs are reasonable. While I love science and believe apologetics to be okay, we must ask, "Why?" Why do we feel we need to defend ourselves? I don't have to defend myself to anyone. I just have to love God with my heart, soul, mind, and strength, and love my neighbor as myself.

I am not saying we should purposely offend people, only that we shouldn't feel the need to defend ourselves and justify what we believe.

2 comments:

  1. *INSERT STANDING OVATION HERE*

    AMEN! You know I have learned more by watching my pastors LIVES than their sermons. Seriously. I've watched them get hurt, I've been the one to hurt them, I've watched them get mad... seriously mad... I've seen them deal day in and day out with dumb sheep, and I will say day in and day out... they are the real deal. I'm glad they don't hide their anger, hide their pain, and act the part of a "smiling all the time nothing is ever wrong we must treat people nice" Christian.

    God called us to be GOOD people, not nice people. Do you think Christ was NICE in the temple? He didn't hide his distain, his frustration... he was real.

    I'm sorry I'd rather deal with Scott in a moment of wanting to shake me senseless, than my old pastor being nice to my face and smearing me behind my back. Which is love?

    So love people. Speak truth to them. Truth in itself is offensive... purely because it is light in a dark place. Not everyone welcomes the light.

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  2. I completely agree but it goes both ways. I have seen the false hope (if I just say this prayer everything is fine) and I have seen false condemnation. I know of several people who truly have a mercy gifting that try to preach fire and it is completely fake. It is not them. They are trying to conform to what they think the people want.

    There are different parts fo the body and we need people to just be who they were created to be.

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