A Letter for not-good-enough Christians
I guess I'm not a very good Christian . . . Do you feel like: I don't pray enough I don't read my Bible enough I don't share my faith enough I don't love God enough I'm not committed enough I'm not spiritual enough Then this letter is for you.
The preceding statement, and some of what follows (in italics) are taken from a review of an interesting-sounding book titled, “Messy Spirituality.” I’ve borrowed from the review and expanded it to include church – normal, Biblical church?
Messy Spirituality was written for the silent majority of us who have been convinced that we just don't do Christianity (read, church) right. We spend most of our lives worried about what we don't do instead of what we have done; focused on our imperfections instead of God's fondness for the imperfect.
Why? Because we've been bombarded with books, tapes, talks, (church growth) seminars, convincing us that real Christianity (church) is all about perfection.
Michael Yaconelli dares to suggest that imperfection, infiniteness, and messiness are, in fact, the earmarks of true Christianity; that real Christianity is messy, erratic, lopsided . . . and gloriously liberating. Would this describe God’s view of church?
Proverbs 14:4. “An empty stable stays clean.” This surely infers that a busy stable is a messy place. I’ll leave it to your imagination to picture what’s all over the floor. Did you think of placentas? Sorry if that’s not ‘nice’ but for a successful farmer it surely is.
Criticisms of simple/organic churches include, they:
- are messy
- have no covering (except Jesus)
- have no identifiable leadership,
- have all sorts of people ‘having their say’
- don’t value religious dogma
- don’t start or finish, ‘on time’
- always drinking tea and coffee and eating
- even have children whose ideas are encouraged and followed. (Kids, of course, have a ‘junior’ Holy Spirit don’t they?)
- don’t put a high value on numerical attendance (in fact encourage their attenders to think more of lost people than being in a set place at a set time)
- don’t tell their attenders what they should do with their monetary gifts – or how much they should give
- are so unpredictable!
TO ALL OF THE ABOVE SIMPLE CHURCHES HAPPILY PLEAD GUILTY!!
“What if genuine faith (church) begins with admitting we will never have our act completely together? Maybe messy disciples are exactly the kind of imperfect people Jesus came to earth for and whose company he actually enjoyed--and still enjoys. If you want to find Jesus today, look for him in the midst of burned-out believers, moral misfits, religious incompetents . . . men and women whose lives are, well, messy.” And possibly attend one of those messy churches where they have discovered...”a strong antidote for spiritual perfectionism,” and have been “cut loose from the tyranny of ought-to's and had their eyes (opened) to the deep spirituality of being loved, shortcomings and all, by the God who meets you and transforms you in the midst of a messy and unpredictable life.