Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Empty Faith

This video was nearly over before I realized that it was not a parody.

Attempts like this one to convert people have always really puzzled me. Does anyone watch something like this and say, "Dude, I totally did not know that Jesus could be extreme! How awesome is that? I am so becoming a Christian now that I know JC is down with skiing!" This video seems so empty, so vacuous, that it almost makes me question my faith. Almost.

I sort of understand the notion of keeping the issue simple in order to get people in the door and then introducing them to a more fully realized vision of Christianity. I don't see that happening, though. It seems that too many churches keep making things more simple, more dumbed down just to try to keep growing (in terms of the number of parishioners) and to keep current members from going somewhere else. Where is the challenge? Where is the idea that trying to live up to the standards of Jesus is not easy and calls for more than extreme skiing, singing rock music, going to church once a week, and saying a single prayer. Maybe I'm reading a different Bible, but when I read mine I'm constantly thinking, "Wow. I have a lot to live up to if I am going to call myself a Christian. It's going to take a lot of hard work, failure, and trying again and again."

I suppose that's intimidating for many people in our me-first-no-pain culture, but I think that we underestimate people. I think that there are a lot of people out there who do want more; they just don't know how or what to do. They need leaders, real leaders, not people like Joel Osteen telling you that God wants you to be rich. People who will challenge those around them, to say "I know you can do better. We can do better, in fact. Let's see what happens." I think the economic crisis is the perfect time for these people to be stepping forward. More than ever, we need them.

No comments: