Friday, February 19, 2010

How should one follow Christ?

It has been more and more pressing for me lately to acknowledge the extent to which my Christian faith is lacking. This is not a denial of my faith - or rather, it is an acknowledgment that my faith is weak and I must rely upon Christ/God for everything, which is really not a very new idea.

But, what is the proper way to view the lack of faith that is, it would seem, present in each of us as followers of Christ? Is it enough to simply "do our best" and leave the rest to God? Should we simply "follow our passions" as coming from God? What about living a "good life" and being a "good Christian?" Does any of this mean anything?

I want to think, and I do think, that there are many people who have, in some real way (even if it's imperfectly) surrendered their lives to Christ and are seeking to be led by the Spirit in transformative ways. Yet, it often seems that we, as the Church (or Christianity, if you prefer) are making such little progress. Indeed, it seems that we are often going backward!

Of course, I am caught up in this as much as anyone. I am constantly torn, as I'm sure we all are, between what Jesus calls us to be, and what I want my life to be. Sometimes they seem to be in sync, other times they are in complete contradiction. Paul describes this well in his famous "I do what I don't want to do, etc..." (Romans 7)

I just can't shake the feeling that we, as wealthy, safe, comfortable Western Christians, have gotten to a place where many of us would simply be better off if we experienced a drastic change, a wake-up call of some sort. I don't know what that might be. But I suspect that if we aren't willing to make the necessary changes on our own, God may step in and make them for us. And I don't think we'll like it very much.

I don't think that Christianity has quite gotten to the point of necessitating Kierkegaard's "attack on Christendom", but it might be closer to this than we want to admit!

"Yes, such is the fact: the official worship of God... is, Christianly, a counterfeit, a forgery.

But thou, thou plain Christian, on the average thou hast no suspicion... confiding in the conviction that everything is all right, that it is the Christianity of the New Testament. This forgery is so deeply ingrained that doubtless there are even priests who continue to live on the vain conceit that everything is all right... really this forgery is the counterfeit which came about in the course of centuries, whereby little by little Christianity has become exactly the opposite of what it is in the New Testament.

So I repeat... by ceasing to take part in the official worship of God as it now is... thou hast one guilt the less, and that a great one: thou dost not take part in treating God as a fool."

(Soren Kierkegaard, "This Has to be Said")

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