I slept terribly last night; tossing and turning, waking up all the time. I woke up again at 8:45 am and lay there for a while, staring at the wall next to me, wondering what was wrong.
Eventually it hit me.
I haven’t been very close to God recently. I haven’t been angry with Him, or upset with Him. I haven’t began doubting His existence or questioning whether I should give up following Him. I’ve just gotten really distracted. Distracted by all the new things in life, all the new people, the new places.
This week I almost resigned myself to just not caring until I care again, but I don’t think it really works like that.
So this morning, while failing miserably at sleeping, I browsed through Facebook and Instagram, and saw a lot of posts by a lot of Christians, and realised what makes it so hard to turn back to Jesus at times like this.
We have made the Gospel so cute and fluffy and friendly.
Jesus was nailed to a cross by his hands and feet and made to hang there until He died. He endured one of the most painful deaths known to man because He was the perfect sacrifice for a broken, messed up world. How that relates to the very cute, friendly gospel message we seem to have created in 2013, I do not know.
We’ve made Christianity about “being good” and not saying ‘shit’ and hating on gay marriage and being pro-life and telling people they’re wrong. We’ve made it about drinking tea and dressing well for church and always having our Bibles with us.
We’ve forgotten that when Paul said he was the “worst of sinners” (1 Tim. 1:15) he had spent his time, before choosing Christ, killing Christians.
We’ve forgotten that Rahab was a prostitute.
We’ve forgotten that Noah was a drunkard.
We’ve forgotten that Peter totally denied knowing Jesus.
We’ve forgotten that Judas betrayed Jesus after kissing Him on the cheek.
We’ve forgotten how Samson used women.
We’ve forgotten that David was a murderer.
But we act as if Jesus died on a cross so we could eat cake and dress modestly and never be angry with life.
We’ve defined what a relationship with God is meant to look like and totally forgotten that we’re just the same as Rahab and Noah and Paul and Judas. But we still judge people around us and tell them how they live is wrong because it makes us feel some sort of pride; that’s not what Jesus wants.
In the west we’ve surrounded ourselves with really fun Christian music and helpful books and cute church stories for kids, so much so that we’ve forgotten how to really have faith. We’ve turned Jesus into a physically attractive white man.
In North Africa, in Iraq, in Afghanistan, in China, they don’t hold on to God because their favourite Christian band just released an amazing song that’s “so anointed”, they do it because they know it’s their only hope, that if they let go and try to get through life, through persecution, on their own they’ll never do it.
I don’t know for certain, but I highly doubt Christians being persecuted across the world are debating their feelings on abortion.
We’ve forgotten that we’re all the same. That we all mess up, that no amount of Bible reading or prayer time makes us any better than anyone else and that that is the exact opposite of what Jesus wanted for us. If it wasn’t for Jesus dying for us we would have nothing so stop leaving that part out of the Gospels. Stop leaving out the part where God, something that I can’t even explain because the concept of a god still baffles me sometimes, became human, became a helpless baby who had to rely on two totally lost people to look after Him as He grew up, and knew that He was only on this planet to eventually die. But He did it so He could know us. So He could be a part of our mess. So He could hang out with the disciples, twelve guys who didn’t really have a clue what was going on, so He could meet countless people who would never believe He was God, so He could give sight to the blind, so He could allow the lame to walk again, so He could eat dinner with tax collectors, have His feet washed by prostitutes, so He could spend time with the outcasts of society, so He could break the rules of the Sabbath and tell people that loving God was nothing to do with any of that.
There’s very little Christian music and art that I would say I love because I think a lot of it is very cheesy, but there’s a guy called Levi the Poet who is one of the most talented spoken word poets I’ve ever heard. He is passionate and honest and doesn’t pretend like being a Christian is easy and cute. One of my favourite poems by Levi is called O Captain, My Captain, and you can watch it right here.