In the early days of Christianity, Christianity was a grassroots movement with a wild side. Orphans would be taken off the streets and cared for; the status of women was elevated in a patriarchal culture; adherents gave their all in order to meet the needs of those in their community; people died for the name of Christ that sets people free from the tyranny of bondage and guilt. In these rough economic times in a culture that has lost it’s moral foundation and the existence of God is being denied, it will take primitive, wild, and undomesticated Christianity to begin a revolution of change.
We are not called to be Christians to merely enjoy life, to have everything around us pleasant and comfortable. Jesus represented a rugged Christianity. We have sterilized it, tamed it, domesticated it.
“Just give me a better parking place at the mall.” “Help me not to be offensive.” “Don’t mention the ‘Jesus’ word.”
Jesus has become lost in a religion that bears his name. When you become a follower of Jesus you become participants in an insurrection, a renegade of nonconformists in a culture that has lost its way. Erwin McManus calls it a “barbarian revolt.” The invasion to reclaim a fallen creation has begun in Jesus and we are to extend it, not tame it. I wonder along with others, if Christian Theists have left Jesus behind.
But it even gets worse. Even though the Christians have tamed Christianity, the atheists are still too lazy to pet it. Dorothy Sayers described sloth this way: “It is the sin that believes in nothing, cares for nothing, seeks to know nothing, interferes with nothing, enjoys nothing, hates nothing, finds purpose in nothing, lives for nothing, and remains alive because there is nothing for which it will die.”
There is an indicting apathy that has crawled over and settled on our existential times. “There’s really not that much to be excited about in life, and when it comes to God – oh well, whatever?” And the atheists even say that He doesn’t exist.
If God is as great as the Bible says He is, why do I not love this Creator with a daily aliveness that invigorates me to pursue him with passion? The idea of God has been tamed and Jesus has been domesticated. Imagine, a Being with a mind as great as God’s, with feet like fire and a voice like rushing wind and ocean waves breaking on distant shores, iridescent light that invites you into the mystery. How could I possibly have a “whatever” attitude when I have revelation like that of God? I’ll tell you how – sloth in a context of a domesticated faith. Sloth is when we do sullenly what we ought to do with devotion. Sloth says “It’s not really true; it’s nothing to be excited about. I’ll label it as fairytale and dismiss it.” Too lazy to pet it, even though domesticated.
Don’t just join a revolution; be a revolution. How do we get through the crises of life? Turn Christianity loose, the real, untamed authentic kind. Stop pampering the atheists and the politically correct. Present a compelling case for Christian Theism in the marketplace of ideas. Love a person who hates you. Feed someone who is hungry. Drive old cars. Wear old shoes. Don’t seek revenge. Serve your spouse rather than divorce her/him. Give your money away. Care for a lonely person. Help people find jobs. Articulate a truly Christian Worldview. Love your family and invest in them. Stop offering your body to the first thing that winks at you. Radically serve your community. Meet a need. Recycle and reuse.
Get a little rugged for a change. Have a backbone, some moral stamina. “Deny yourself” is how Jesus would say it. Let’s not tame Jesus; let’s turn him loose. Life is not a petting zoo; it’s fallen, wild Creation on the Outback. It takes a “Lion” in these pansy, atheistic times. This IS something worth living for. And, something worth dying for.
I would hate to live in a world where there was nothing worth dying for, no larger story to be caught up into, no noble purpose for which we would give our lives. The slothful (be they atheistic or Christian) do nothing to make our world better; he or she leaves it unchanged, except for pillaging some of its resources, occupying some of its space. Sloth and selfishness is fueled by a culture of cynicism. We may not be intellectual atheists, but we are practical atheists, full of complacency. “There may be a god, but I’m going to live without him.” It’s all fueled by sloth, a refusal to deal with the hard questions of life and somehow find God in all of it.