Thursday, December 17, 2015

Must we be beautiful people?


"You were never called to be average"
Tweeted the church leader, then retweeted by others, nearly seven hundred times.

To start with, this is like loopy politicians expecting every school to get above average grades... clearly most people will be average... and half might be below average, though granted some will be above average.

And then, there's that this is not remotely Christian. Now, sure, human beings are remarkable, divine image bearers, and I'm not saying we should ignore that. We're wonderfully, uniquely made.

But, the Christian faith isn't about being a star, being beautiful, being a winner. Karma is the worldview for winners. Christ is for losers. Winners can humiliate themselves to follow Christ but it's hard for them to do that.

Christian faith is the story of the Triune God, of the Son who was sent in the fullness of the loving Spirit to utter humiliation, in becoming human, and down and down, to being executed for us.

What are the marks of the Christian life?

 Ordinary. Mundane. 
 Mediocre. Normal. 
 Unspectacular. Plain. 
 Unimpressive. Humdrum. 
 Repetitive. Unseen. 
 Boring. Average.

I used to love to sing 'I'm gonna be a history maker' but really...  in a thousand unseen acts of service, yes...  in the daily dying for my wife, my kids, my friends, my enemies, yes....

The poison of celebrity culture has got in deep. Who are the most influential Christians in the world? Really, all the ones I've never heard of and never will. But we I buy into the game like everyone else. I follow the 'big names', buy their stuff. And I'm not necessarily criticising them. If you have a voice use it for good, but who needs to be a voice... can't I just be happy to be ordinary?

Jesus Christ was un-eye-catching, and the servant-of-all. The least. The disregarded. The excluded. The rejected. Not the darling of a well-lit stage. Not the charismatic leader of a religion, cause or business. Jesus Christ and him crucified, foolishness and weakness, divine wisdom and power.

Nothing necessarily wrong with presenting yourself well. Good design and good communication are important. But Christian faith isn't a product to be sold by hyping up people's value... but by hearing about the one who emptied himself of everything to stand in our place.

Something is dischordant about attempts to create impressive beautiful Christianity. Though, of course, there is something strangely beautiful about the cross of Christ that makes a deep impression on all who will have him.

Image - Creative Commons - Eric Hines

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