“Christ without Christianity” my friend said the other night while we were talking. I was picking his brain about a Café that some friends were opening a couple of evenings a month. No doubt about his suggestion would attract the curious, but there was more to the name than being a simple “hook.”
I believe with all my heart that Christ without Christianity is what our culture is seeking. As I’ve mentioned in the last few postings the word Christianity now carries so much baggage that it has a negative connotation attached to it. Don’t get me wrong I’m not embarrassed to be a Christian but I understand what the term means to me, and what it means to others are two different things. For that reason I consider myself a follower of Jesus. I have no desire to be defined by the denomination, church, religion, or religious culture I associate with.
I want to share my faith, not the cultural and moralistic religion that has enveloped me most of my “Christian” life. I don’t want to be identified with the prosperity pastors that populate the airwaves each Sunday. The God of their making is not the God that I long to know and have a relationship with. I’m not interested in Holy Laughter, the Spirit of Drunkenness, or shaking uncontrollably while rolling across a church floor as proof of my relationship with Jesus.
My faith is built upon assurance. It is the promises of Jesus as found in the Bible that I claim for my own. I stand or fall upon these precepts and teachings. Romans 8:1 assures me, “There is therefore no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Do you believe this? Do you believe that if you have accepted Jesus as your personal savior you are not under condemnation and judgment?
John 5:24 couldn’t be more clear, “Truly, truly I say to you, he who hears my word and believes Him who sent me, has eternal life; he does not come into judgment, but has passed from death unto life.”
The Greek word translated judgment is Kaino and means to be judged adversely. It could not be clearer if we hear Jesus’ word and believe in the One who sent Him we have eternal life because we have passed from death to life. There is no judgment because Jesus has carried our punishment to the cross and taken our place in punishment that we could have eternal life.
Do we realize how wonderful this message of grace, love, and acceptance really is when compared to the legalism, morality gospel, prosperity gospel, and dubious spiritual shakings and drunkenness that passes for Christianity? There are numerous interesting and eye-opening videos on the Internet explaining the shakings, convulsions, falling over, etc., taking place under the touch of Hindu holy men. It is no wonder that so many thinking people believe we left our brains at the church door.
Christ without Christianity may not be as crazy of a name as it sounds. Maybe we have to give people the opportunity to meet the Jesus that we fell in love with way before we became involved with organized religion. For me this was the Jesus who loved me unconditionally and filled my heart with joy. Jesus gave me hope, assurance, direction, love, peace, and confidence to live my life with power and wonder. This is the Jesus that I want to introduce to people.
Last night scores of people were shot and killed in a club in Florida by a gunman. People are looking for answers and people are becoming afraid of the world they live in. It is as if the entire world has taken a crazy pill and overnight we are swamped by bazaar and demonic behavior. What hatred flows through the mind of a man who would kill so many innocent people in the name of religion? People don’t need more religion; they have seen enough of it. They need to see Jesus the Prince of peace who brings good news to the world.
America has become more and more divided and angry over the last few years. People call each other bigots, racists, Nazi’s, and haters simply because they see life through different glasses than the people screaming the hate speech. And, you know the sadness of it all, somehow Christianity ends up in the mix. When did we become about politics, race, oppression, hatred for anyone disagreeing with us, and repression? When did common sense fly out the door for political correctness even when people die?
Two nights a month my friends and myself want to bring a little sanity to our corner of the world. We want to invite people into a safe place where we can reveal God who loves us in spite of how it looks. We long for an opportunity to tell others this mess of a world is not God’s doing. In fact He has a plan for us; a world that doesn’t include killing each other and destroying the environment.
I know most of you who read this blog live a long ways away from my little costal town but it does not mean you can’t help us with our outreach. If each of you would take a few minutes a day to pray for the success of our outreach it would be appreciated. Also pray for us to have wisdom and discernment in our interaction with the public, and lastly pray for individual people to inquire about what we are doing.
Thanks for your support and prayers not only for us but the victims of such a needless shooting that have destroyed so many lives and families. I will keep you up to date about the Café once we get up and going this July.