Friday, May 8, 2009

The Vanity and Inanity of the Anitys


You can tell from the title that this is a message that has some sincerely sarcastic or satirical overtones...but one that should be taken seriously, nonetheless. I did some thinking while on my week's break and some things occurred to me. For all of our proclamations of being ones who belong to Christ-ianity, it seems that there are a number of substitutes that often try to crowd out our devotion to the King of Kings.

Collegianity -- I spent a number of years on a beloved Christian college campus (see last message) where many of the students did not believe it necessary their Bibles or go to church. The reasoning was usually something along the lines of -- I have Bible classes during the week...I get enough Bible then. (No, I am not making this up). One of my tasks, as a "campus minister" was to help some understand that this was probably not going to cut it the grand scheme of things. We had some success in convincing certain ones to engage in a regular quiet time and go be with a church family on Sundays, at least.

Judaianity -- as one person has called it. This is somewhat ironic, as I have had a couple of friends in my life actually become "Jewish Christians" in culture and practice. They did so by choice...and I make no judgment about this. We see many Jews who become Christians, but generally not the other way around. But, to me the greater irony is how many Christians unwittingly adopt "judaianity" as their religion. They are more interested in holding to a form of religion...binding rules and regulations...rather than being set free by Jesus to truly be able to be spiritually productive citizens. Fear...of not keeping all of the rules, not maintaining all of the proper traditions, weighs them down and they are generally insecure about their faith. The hope is that by preaching and teaching Jesus that some who are bound will come to be set free by the Holy Spirit to know their Savior and be assured of their salvation.

Churchianity -- this is actually closely aligned with Judaianity in that the focus of those who inherently practice this form of religion are distracted by "the church." Everything revolves around the church...moreso than anything else. The talk is about the church...the preaching and teaching are about the church. It is often done so in "defense mode," as in having to protect the church -- as if God is not capable of doing such. It all becomes pretty egocentric when it depends upon me to make sure that everything is all right with the religious world and that nothing false is being taught or preached. The sad irony in this is that some are so focused upon how the church should operate and what the church teaches, that many do not ever come to see or know Jesus. We can be so churchocentric (making up words) that we miss Christ. However, if we focus on getting people to know Jesus, matters regarding the church properly fall into place and with the right perspective.

Materialianity -- is to be unduly under the influence of the the things of this world, but still put on a happy face on Sunday morning, dressed in Sunday best. :-) This one is much more difficult to discern, because we live in a rich culture, by and large. The thought being...are our possessions and time our master or our servant? We know the answer in relationship to the rich, young ruler. Many good people succumb to materialianity...having little depth to their faith, finding it much easier to be served than to serve. When church matters do not go the way the materialist thinks, he or she will most times take their toys and go home. Materialianity is not so much concerned about others -- self is really on the throne, rather than Christ. This makes it pretty hard to "love your neighbor," unconditionally. When Jesus is on the throne, the things of this world find their proper place and we have the proper perspective about them.

Christianity -- as a friend of mine has said...what on earth does this mean anymore? The principle is right and pure, but in the hands of humanists, has routinely come to mean something that it is not. Christianity, culturally, can mean adopting any number of anti-biblical stances and practices...all in the name of Jesus, and have it all be good. This is why another friend suggests a more direct term...such as believer or disciple. I believe that this is probably more inherently accurate in defining who we are...without all of the cultural trappings associated with "Christianity." Still, I am going to suggest...

Jesus -- simply knowing the person...having a genuinely personal relationship with Him. As seen on t-shirts and bumper stickers..."don't let your religion get in the way of my relationship" -- well-said. Not allowing ourselves to be bogged down...albeit purposely or unwittingly...allows us to truly see Jesus for who He is. This is what is going to matter in the end. All of the other "anitys" are some form of idolatry that keep us from truly seeing and knowing Jesus. We should not neglect the OT or Paul's writings, etc -- but as one Bible professor shared with me one time...I challenge everyone to put off any religious trappings and read Matthew, Mark, Luke and John over and over and over again. Blessings,


No comments: