What kinda face are you putting out there? What’s your persona? What it the way you present yourself to the world?
Because ya know there ain’t nothing wrong with have different faces with different groups or different people or in different places. We aren’t just one person but many. We have a core personality sure but that doesn’t mean we don’t tweak it for one person or anoter or tap more deeply into one aspect a certain gathering compared to another aspect at some other gathering.
It’s not dishonest to be different with different people. I don’t talk Jesus as much with my non-church-going people as I do with my Bible study group. I don’t talk about sex or relationship woes as much with my Bible study group as I do with my girlfriends.
But what we need to be sure of is that we don’t make up a personality solely for the sake of fitting in. If I am acting a fool with my girlfriends and doing things that are morally or socially questionable, I’m not being honest to my Christian core and maybe those aren’t good people to be hanging out with. If I have to manufacture safe topics to speak with my Bible study group and can never manage to find a suitable non-biblical topic of smalltalk with them, then maybe the only thing I have in common with them is faith and I would be happier and get more out of Bible study with a group of Christians with whom I connect better.
It’s nice to have variety in our relationships and how we interact. Just make sure that you’re honest to yourself and with yourself and with others when you do.
So I was thinking about the 4th of July holiday weekend. And I got to thinking: How many people really celebrate us breaking away from the British more than 200 years ago? Not many. It’s more about BBQs and beer and setting off explosive devices. And I thought about the Memorial Day and Veterans Day holiday weekends and realized that despite flags and parades and stuff, no one really is paying much attention to military folk who lost their lives or simply served (whether in combat or not).
Then I thought about the word holiday and how it derives originally from holy-day. And I thought: How many people really think about Jesus’s crucifixion and rising from the dead when they celebrate Easter? No. It’s about baskets and bunnies and colored eggs and candy. Christmas? Not about the birth of Jesus, that’s for sure. It’s about the gifts and Santa and stocking and mulled cider and all that jazz. Most people even when they go to services at church for easter or Christmas they really don’t think about Jesus much past the point they exit the church.
That got me to thinking about how people don’t really take church seriously either. Not that I think church is the be all and end all mind ya…I don’t…and people put too much stock in whether God really cares that we sit our butts in the pews. I don’t think he does. Church is supposed to be about more than going to a building. But I thought about the people who do go every week or nearly so, and how many of them fall into two camps. One is the “its a habit and/or I better go or God might hate me” crowd…which means their attendance is either wholly empty or just about fear. The other major camp is the “I need to be seen as being holy crowd” who are obviously there for the sake of their image or station in life or something else and not for the glory of God, Jesus or the Holy Spirit.
In other words, we’re a bunch of shiny plastic people. I’ve been guilty of it too sometimes but not anymore. I don’t care whether people see me in church or waht they think when I don’t show up. Not any more. And I’m not going to go there because I think God is keepign attendance. We aren’t told in the Bible to show up weekly to services. We are told to spread the good news. Jesus would rather have us out there on Sunday sharing his message to the world than he would for us to show up at a church. Yeah, there is value to going to church…but not when it’s just because ya feel ya have to do it.
No smiling and shucking and jiving when it comes to church. That’s wrong. I mean, if we aren’t there to have true spiritual fellowship and be fed spiritually through the word of God why the heck are we there? you think God cares to see a bunch of phonies clogging up the pews? He’d rather see them 3/4 empty and know that all the people there want to be and are getting something out of it.
Barbie and Ken dolls. What happens when you take off their clothes? No nipples, no private parts. Just smooth and shiny plastic. That’s what most of us have become emotionally and spiritually. We look forward to our long holiday weekends without remembering the reason why the day is celebrated. We celebrate religious holidays but serve up greed and superficial nonesense (I’m still guilty of that myself). We go to church but make it a surface-y thing with no depth and no detail…just like Barbie and Kens parts. Is that what we want to be? Is that what you want to be?