Day 13, yes I know it’s supposed to be 15, I’m playing catch-up after the Influence Conference.
What do we do when God shows up? I was 16 and had been raised in a Christian family. We were flawed but the gospel was something I’d heard all of my life. And yet, if asked to really tell what the gospel amounted to in the church, I wouldn’t have been able to pinpoint anything other than avoiding hell and being a good person. And that plan failed in my teens when I knew I wasn’t a good person. I never thought of myself as a good girl although I played the part. Inside, I felt dark and damaged.
And unfortunately that is true of so many in the church. We line up to buy into the eternal life package which includes avoiding the fiery flames in favor of golden gates but it’s not really about Jesus. It is not as Bonhoeffer states, an invitation to, “come and die.”
We give our lives to being a good person, complete with a moral checklist. Thou shalt not do the biggies. No killing, stealing, or adultery but the heart stuff goes unchecked.
We live out an external Christianity instead of an internal transformation. And if you belong to Club Jesus, then you congregate with like-minded external Christians and participate in all of those subtle sins that come from a heart that has been untouched.
Club Jesus condones rampant materialism because this moralistic gospel preaches that a good God wants us to be happy, not Holy.
Club Jesus promotes classic family values but doesn’t emphasize discipling their children to see Jesus. A weekly check in with youth group will do the trick, and then it’s straight off to college so they have security and a chance at the happy a college educated American is entitled to have.
Club Jesus gobbles up the Oprah prescription for a happy life, making sure you get your needs met, especially in your marriage. After all, God wants us to be happy.
Club Jesus loves to put links in the prayer chain gossip. “Oh, have you heard? We need to pray for…., ” and then the story spills out and spreads as eyebrows raise and tongues drip heavy with concern.
Club Jesus believes in a lot of activity and programs. It believes in practicality and productivity. It discourages reliance on the Holy Spirit and instead relies on the monotony of tradition. Because if anyone has had an encounter with the Holy Spirit, that messes you up without a doubt. And Club Jesus likes tidy.
Club Jesus accepts members based on whether they fit in to Club Jesus. This would automatically exclude anyone whose sin is showing. You can pretty much exclude any of the people Jesus actually chose to spend time with because those people are downright messy.
Club Jesus would never admit to these stereotypes because they’ve got the lingo down. They know they are supposed to love their neighbor, but their neighbor is the person in the same zip code and financial bracket, the one who goes to the same school and doesn’t rub them the wrong way.
Club Jesus doesn’t mess you up the way knowing Jesus does. It doesn’t wreck the steps you’ve taken and ask you to walk a different pace and rhythm, totally in step with Him.
Club Jesus doesn’t make disciples because they are not discipled. The seeker sensitive churches of the early 90’s have faded because no one can live on milk their whole lives without cutting teeth for real sustenance.
And although Club Jesus is alive and well, many of my generation are over it.
We are rapidly fading from the Sunday morning church-building -going sort.
My generation is becoming de-churched, dropping out of the mainstream Club Jesus due to hurts, boredom, or the search for something transformative. The ones who stay are often the frustratingly churched, those who still go but are disillusioned and stilted.
The de-churched want to make a difference in this DIY generation. They want to change the world and see it as a responsibility which can lead to the next display of a distorted gospel in the church, Activist Jesus.
DISCLOSURE: COMPENSATED AFFILIATE LINK USED, But if you haven't
read The Cost of Discipleship, you are missing out on the awesome.