Tuesday, 25 September 2012

The Lure of Hypocrisy

Spoiler alert.

I feel sick of slick. I feel sick of people who smile sweetly, who present a 'got it together' image. Sick of downloading vodcasts and podcasts of the latest Christian personality.

I feel sick of the celebrity culture in the church. The 'I follow Apollos' mentality that decides whether I'm in or out, credible or not. Bright lights and a camera on a crane. Popstars and doting faithfuls, carrying the bags and hanging on the words of bright minds and sharp wits. Sick also of the 'anointed' frauds I hear about and read about. 'Follow me' Jesus said to a group of fishermen and outcasts. Was this really in his mind? A church full of TV presenters and the nausea inducing age of Christianity I live in?

I haven't got room in my stomach for name-dropping or rhetoric. Words seem too deceitful to trust. I don't know who I am, or what I really think. I like only the sound of the syllables and the images, the twists they create in my mind. A clever phrase here, a long pause there. Tugging on heart strings, looking for weak spots for a good 'way in' to someone's heart. I hate it that when I hear a good story or am moved by a touching illustration my first thought is to file it away for a rainy day or a sermon that's lacking some 'fizz'.

I feel sick that my life and mind are full of inconsistencies and holes, I am double-sided at best. Am I successful Christian because I can preach? Am I faithful because I can hold a crowd or gain a following?

I want only to follow the saviour, want only to see him save souls, heal the sick and transform lives. I don't want hype, flashing lights, smoke machines and emotional responses. I want honesty, integrity and authenticity. Honestly. 

I feel the draw of jargon more than ever before, the lure of hypocrisy like I've never known. If I can present an image or a brand, use the right words, avoid scandal and keep everyone happy then I'll have made it. Grow a church and live a quiet life, isn't that what Paul told me to do? Act therefore. Fake it until you make it. Right?

Wrong. 

That
Is
Not
Church

Authenticity. I hate the word because of its overuse but I have no other. Authenticity. Not a brand or an image but a genuine heart felt and honest pursuit of Jesus' intended meaning for my life. Oh how I want to love people, to see people healed and delivered, to see the Kingdom of God established as Jesus and Isaiah described it. His vision for my life is far better than anything I could ever have concocted on my own, his understanding of my nature more comprehensive than I ever would have dared to admit, his remedy more satisfying for my soul than I could have imagined. 

Surrender. Complete and utter, honest surrender. The end of hypocrisy, the end of acting. The end of idolatry and self-centered decision making. The end of 'I'm ok' and the end of 'I'll do it my way.'

As I am he bids me - "come". Shortcomings and all, questions-a-plenty and the removal of any masks I might wear. 

I shall live for ever in pursuit of him and his vision of church: a crowd of honest, faith-full, spirit empowered lovers of God and others. A place of no pretence. A place where healing, restoration and obedience sometimes-through-gritted-teeth and other times in joy and delight honours Jesus; the God-man who conquered our greatest enemy and rose to new life and complete authority. The greatest hoax the world has ever known - or true.

Nothing else will cut it, nothing else will do. The world has seen a show, it's been to the West End and it has watched countless X-Factors. Now let's give it the church.

2 comments:

Amelia Sweetland said...

Love this Jez! Milly x

Blog Administrator, Karen L. Brahs said...

Wow, Jez...you have spoken my own mind and heart. I have been blessed by dropping in today and catching up on your posts. Thank you!