"Having a blog is like wandering around your house naked with the windows open; it's all very liberating until someone looks in the window. However, while being caught unawares is one thing, it is quite another to stroll up to the window and press your naked, flabby body against the coolness of the glass in a hideous form of vertical prostration for all the world to see..." These posts are the smudges that are left behind on the window.

Saturday, 2 February 2013

Vacuums, Sex, and the Christian Life

As most readers of this blog will know, I listen to Drew Marshall on a regular basis. In fact, I get email updates on what's coming up for the next Saturdays broadcast. The other week nothing really interested me other than the regular segment called God Blogger. Every week he interviews someone who blogs on spiritual matters. I like to see who's out there in case there's someone interesting to follow. So far I haven't really come across many. Even some that seemed interesting on the show turn out to be ho-hum: probably like most people think of my blog. The other day at work things were quite slow, so I looked up the God Blogger for the next Saturday. He seemed more fundamentalist than I was prepared to invest any energy into, but one thing led to another and I ended up looking at material that was actually about one of the other guests that Saturday.

The other guest was a couple who had written a book on marriage. The particular article I was reading contained the 8 tips to a better marriage in their book. It turns out that the guy had been the pastor of a fairly successful church, but then he had an affair which ended his ministry, and just about ended his marriage.

The whole thing got me thinking about a time many years ago when the Promise Keepers phenomena was just starting. I went to a couple of events including a very large one in Minneapolis. There were lots of very dynamic speakers there, but truth be told, I don't remember very much other than, for some reason, that there were several on marriage. Most of the marriage topics went along the lines of, “Once I was an asshole, but I'm not anymore - let me tell you about it”. Which, if you are an asshole, should be very enlightening, and maybe even life changing.

For example, one of the speakers told the story about the time his wife was out of the house and it suddenly occurred to him to actually pick up the vacuum cleaner and start helping out around the house. Apparently when his wife came home she was so shocked and appreciative that they made out right there on the living room next to the vacuum cleaner. Obviously the only natural response to this kind of revelation is to go on a national speaking tour, and maybe write a book - it's all perfectly understandable.

You may have picked on the vibe that I don't care for programs like Promise Keepers, or Forty Days of Purpose, or, even books like the one that was written by Drew's guests, and the reason is very simple.

They're all missing the point of Christianity.

With all the talk, and teaching from the pulpit, of Jesus being our Saviour so that we can go to heaven when we die, we've forgotten the point of Christianity. As Peter Rollins says, the point of Christianity is not about having a life after death, but a life before death. It's about becoming fully human in the way that we were originally designed to be. It's about becoming the new people of God whose purpose is to be a blessing to the world. It's about following Jesus into a life of self sacrificing love. If you lack purpose in your life, I would suggest, you haven't come to know the one true God as incarnated in Christ. The life of Jesus has given all of us more purpose than any of us can possibly fulfill in a lifetime. If you call yourself a Christian and you're having trouble keeping your promises, maybe you need to reevaluate if you actually believe all that stuff you say you believe. As Gandhi said, if Christians were to act like Christians the whole world would be saved in a matter of years.

We don't need Promise Keepers to show us how to keep promises - we just need to believe that Jesus is actually Lord. We don't need Forty Days of Purpose to give us purpose - we just need to do what Jesus told us to. We don't need books on marriage that tell us how not to be an asshole, that should be a given if we call ourselves Christians.

If we are the Christians we claim to be, it's time to start acting like it, or stop calling ourselves Christians. If we don't, we are denying Christ, the Resurrection, and trivializing his crucifixion.