“If Christianity were true, it would produce better people.”
That’s where the real conversation often begins after thirty minutes of pleasantries and them sharing their personal history over a warm cup of coffee at Starbucks. They just lay it out. “This is why I don’t go to church anymore.” Sometimes in the way they make that statement, I sense they’re not really convinced Christianity isn’t true, but hope if they say it out loud, often enough they will. However, the second part, about Christianity not producing better people – in that, they’re true believers! Regardless, they just lay it out, unsure of how I’ll react, or where the conversation goes from there.
Who are these people and how did they find me? (more…)
On Monday I posted Consensual Hypocrisy, Part I. Today I want to push toward some practical solutions to the problem.
It’s been said, “People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones!” And, we Christians do live in glass houses – at least we’re supposed to. Jesus said, “A city on a hill cannot be hid, “and “Let your light so shine before men…” Our lives should be an open book. However, living like that carries its own risks. It makes us vulnerable to the criticism of others and that scares the wits out of us.
So imagine a street with glass houses on either side. There are things going on in my neighbors’ lives that are as visible to me as my actions and attitudes are to them. As we pass each other’s houses and see good, Christ-like behavior we shout a word of encouragement to them and cheer them on as we should. “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” I Thess. 5:11
However, occasionally we see something in their lives that’s troubling. It may not be anything big, but it’s a pattern that unsettles us because we know it’s either wrong or suspect it’s at least very unwise. In either case it’s a behavior that doesn’t appear to square with scripture or in our opinion, doesn’t make God look good. Something in their lives is moving in the wrong direction and we have this impression from God to speak up by picking up a small stone and tossing it their way, hoping this clink on their window will get their attention and have its hoped for outcome – a cessation of whatever the issue is.
Just then we notice that our neighbor isn’t at home. They’re actually standing in front of our house with a stone of their own in hand about to warn us of something they see in our lives. So, here we have two good willed people, who know right from wrong, who care about preserving godly behavior – not religious busybodies, but serious would be followers of Jesus. Our eyes meet, but instead of giving and receiving loving admonishment, something else occurs. Wordlessly we make a deal with one another to mutually suspend moral judgment. I’ll drop my stone, if you’ll drop yours. Consensual hypocrisy. (more…)
Sin is the most theologically correct answer to the question of “why” we’re hypocrites, but that’s too easy. There’s a reason why a certain type of hypocrisy is so accepted today. I’ve chosen to call it consensual hypocrisy. And, at the end of this blog series, I’ll ask for your suggestions for dealing with this sin. And yes, it is a sin!
We all know what consensual sex is. Half my teenage life was spent looking for it. It’s two people agreeing to suspend moral judgment on each other to do what they both know is wrong, just because they want to. And, the fact that everyone else appeared to be doing it, or was wanting to do it, simply helped lubricate away my guilt.
Consensual hypocrisy is the silent resignation by the Christian community to a life and lifestyle that looks nothing like what we claim to believe theologically. And, since everyone else appears to be cutting corners on living like Jesus and getting away with it and they’re Christians, it creates a moral, gravital pull on each of us to lower our own standards. And, with this more “pragmatic Christianity” comes the loss of both the moral right and the will to call others back to biblical living.
Here’s how this works in the life of us Christians. (more…)
Most of us know controlling people. But it’s rare that any of us see ourselves as controlling. I’ve always been driven. I still am. But, since I came to faith I think I can get away with it because it has the veneer of spirituality.
So, the reason I can write so easily of these four characteristics is that I’m occasionally guilty of all of them. By the grace of God, I’m better than I was. But, I’m a recovering control freak who still falls off the wagon far too often. Perhaps you too need to be in “control” recovery.
You may be a control freak if… (more…)