Welcome to the first Wasted Wednesday of 2014! It feels good to be back and writing! The topic I am writing about today is one I have been thinking about for quite some time. For the past few months, a lot of things have been happening to me that have me questioning my mortality (let me also state that the things that have been happening are extremely minor so that statement doesn't mean I am suffering in any major way). The event that really had me questioning all of this took place in November of last year. Through a bunch of circumstances, I was in a situation where I inhaled a large amount of acidic content that basically equated to concentrated vinegar. The incident seemed bad at first. I couldn't get the smell of vinegar out of my nose nor the taste out of my mouth all day and my head was swimming. That night, I spent a good amount of time trying to get the taste out of my system by blowing my nose and spitting until my throat felt raw. Disgusting, I know. I ended up going to the CVS minute clinic the next day and was told that inhaling a large amount of vinegar is virtually harmless. I just had to give it time. My biggest concern was that every time I took a deep breath, I could feel something constraining my lungs. I started freaking out inside of my head. Would this damage my lungs for life? When I grew old, would I have issues? Could something like this be the cause of cancer? The freaking out continued over the next few days though I didn't really show it all that much. I now can say that I am fine. My lungs are back to normal and I no longer can taste vinegar in the back of my throat...though every time I catch the scent I am immediately brought back to that horrible day when I breathed it all in in the first place.
When the thought of cancer crossed my mind, I began to think about everything that we avoid to prevent ourselves from getting the dreaded disease. We don't stand in front of microwaves, don't put our cell phones in our pockets or by our beds at night, don't drink diet sodas...the list could go on and on.
So, how does this relate to Christianity? Well, it actually presents a very relevant example to how most Americans practice their Christian faith (and this includes me as well). American Christianity takes on the same approach as Americans trying to avoid cancer, except we are trying to avoid hell. Christians do everything in their power to make it seem like they are perfect and to make sure that their good works will make them okay with the big guy upstairs. We donate money to special causes and the church (but not to a liberal cause, of course), make sure to go to church every Sunday (but don't really pay attention), listen to Christian music (that often holds as much truth as a Justin Bieber CD) and read Christian books (because that literature has too many swear words for my self-righteous taste). I get it. I can be just like those people sometimes and I resent when I act this way. Because, this is not what the church, Christianity, or Jesus is about. Christianity is about one thing - Jesus and the love he has for us. Too often we do things that we believe will prevent us from going to hell over the next person. If we go to church every single Sunday, we will go to heaven. Not true. Listening to Christian music over secular will get us into heaven. Not true.
Remember the song, Jesus Loves the Little Children? The lyrics say, "Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world." It doesn't say some of the children or the children who go to church every Sunday. It says ALL! We are all Gods children and he loves us all equally because he created us all! Good works isn't how Jesus preached it and I am still trying to learn this simple truth.
The purpose of the cross is to show that Jesus put on flesh and humbled himself as a man and then took the blame for all of our sins and then died because of them so that we wouldn't have to! We are all sinners seeking redemption and he is our redeemer because of his unfailing love! Gosh, just writing that makes me feel elated.
We must learn, myself included, that this cancerous Christianity can't continue. It must end. The key to Christianity is Jesus Christ himself and Jesus equals love. As Jeff Bethke says, "Religion says do, Jesus says done." Your sins have been paid for so don't try to better yourself and make yourself seem more worthy than the next person. We are all equally sinners and all equally unworthy and yet God loves us still and that is the amazing thing about real Christianity.