Have you ever wondered if Jesus appreciates Christianity in our post-modern world? I’m referring to what “Christianity” has become …
The global movement bears his name. In the beginning years of Christianity after Christ’s ascension, his followers first began to be called “Christians” — little Christs.
Is today’s “Christianity” what Jesus has in mind?
And what about churches? Does Jesus value many of our churches today?
I’m big on the church. I’m convinced it’s absolutely central to God’s activity on the planet.
Jesus would thoroughly enjoy victorious communities of faith if he actually built his personal life, truth (kingdom reality), and his Father’s love into the mix. After all, he’s the one who said, “I will build my church, and the gates of hell will not stand against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven ….”
SBNR … spiritual but not religious
Have you noticed there’s a vigorous sentiment out there against “organized religion?”
Heather Cariou is a New York City-based author. Her perspective represents a large movement in our post-modern culture … those who consider themselves spiritual but not religious.
There’s even an acronym for it: SBNR.
Heather’s spirituality is a blend of Buddhism, Judaism and other beliefs. “When I die, I believe all my accounting will be done to God, and that when I enter the eternal realm, I will not walk through a door with label on it.”
Henry David Thoreau wrote, “Pursue some path, however narrow and crooked, in which you can walk with love and reverence.” It seems to me that Jesus would agree with Thoreau’s basic perspective — a pathway of love and reverence — though he has a very specific conviction about what that path is.
Even so, I believe this generation is poised to encounter the real Jesus.
There’s an authentic religion, marked by a personal relationship with God in Christ, reaching out to orphans and widows in distress (the poor, the hurting), and keeping ourselves unstained by a fallen world system. This is what James, the brother of Jesus, wrote in James 1:27.
Frank Viola has written a helpful post — Are You in the Wilderness? Viola says many Christians “feel alone, spiritually isolated … some have given up on the traditional form of church altogether. They are in serious pursuit of an expression of church that provides authentic community centered on Jesus Christ … these people love the Lord and they love the Body of Christ, but they feel quite alone. And spiritually, they are dry and empty.”
Christ speaks and acts in the church that he builds
Post-modern spirituality idolizes the individual’s customized spiritual journey. It can be anything. Authentic spirituality is embodied in Jesus Christ.
But it’s not a solo pursuit. We’re designed for community. Jesus’ church is central to his heart and purposes.
And in spite of poor examples of church life, the authentic remains.
I enjoy and appreciate the way The Message, with its emphasis on scholarship and literary style, renders Paul’s words to the church at Ephesus … (Ephesians 1:17-23 The Message)
- “I ask — ask the God of our Master, Jesus Christ, the God of glory — to make you intelligent and discerning in knowing him personally …”
- “Your eyes focused and clear, so that you can see exactly what it is he is calling you to do, grasp the immensity of this glorious way of life he has for his followers …”
- “Oh, the utter extravagance of his work in us who trust him — endless energy, boundless strength! …”
- “All this energy issues from Christ: God raised him from death and set him on a throne in deep heaven, in charge of running the universe, everything from galaxies to governments, no name and no power exempt from his rule … He is in charge of it all, has the final word on everything.”
- “At the center of all this, Christ rules the church. The church, you see, is not peripheral to the world; the world is peripheral to the church. The church is Christ’s body, in which he speaks and acts, by which he fills everything with his presence.”
Much of our post-modern culture is hungry for authentic spirituality. What about you? Are you hungry? What could happen if Jesus really built our churches?