Is Modern Christianity Relevant?

10859615_10152506058101517_915080845_nThere is something about the rain that makes me want to write…a sleeping baby doesn’t hurt either. I’m curled up on the couch in a dark living room listening to the rain hit the window. The cat is in my lap, after turning about 15 times before finding just the right spot—that spot being one that requires I hold the laptop just far enough away to be a bit uncomfortable for typing. But I feel sorry for him—he doesn’t get much attention anymore so I’ll hold him and type this way if it lets him know I still love him—even if I am the one who brought that noisy baby into the house. Besides, I need someone to proofread this for me and he’s quite scrupulous.

And now the baby is awake; you see why I don’t write anymore?

I’ve been thinking lately about modern Christianity. I think it’s the modern part that’s bothering me. I was looking through a list of the Top 100 Christian Bloggers or something like that. I was familiar with some of the names and faces and have read articles from many of them. But it was the words describing these writers that got my attention:

Progressive

Change

Radical

Rethinking Biblical Christianity

Brew your own faith

All of these blogs seemed to be coming from the same basic perspective: Modern Christianity is bad so we need to rewrite our faith.

Now before you start pummeling me with words, let me be clear: I’m not against change—sometimes change is needed. I’m not against asking hard questions and examining our faith knowing we may find things we’re doing wrong. I’ve been attending conservative Baptist churches my whole life and let me tell you, sometimes Baptists can be cray cray. Some of the worst people I’ve ever known were “born again” Baptist church goers and I’ve been to a few churches that caused more harm than good. So I’m not here to defend organized religion or the people who run it. There’s been more than one day when I was ready to be done with religion {not God, religion} altogether.

But on the other side of this story, I believe if our faith is right and true, then it is also timeless. There’s no need to “brew my own faith” because my faith is not my own—it wasn’t written by or for me. It was written by and for God, for his people all over the world for all time. Perhaps my particular church in my teeny, tiny corner of the world needs to change—but my faith, the Bible I read to know and understand that faith, and God himself—these are unchangeable and no new or progressive interpretation need change that.

I’m getting tired of the negativity among Christians these days. I’m getting tired of my brothers and sisters in Christ being ashamed of our faith and practice. This is not to say I haven’t at times been guilty of the very same things. But it seems the general attitude about the church among my generation is, let’s burn it to the ground and start over.

Let’s take our ancient, timeless faith and do something new and exciting with it.

Let’s show people how our peculiar, countercultural way of life is super relevant and not hard or sacrificial.

Forgive me if I sound harsh but this doesn’t make sense.

Because here’s the thing: my way of life doesn’t make sense unless it’s based on something bigger and more important than me, something bigger and more important than what I find relevant and exciting for me personally. I do not need to make my way of living relevant to the culture around me because I am not trying to be like the culture around me. I’m trying to be like Christ and if Christ is anything like the world I live in, then why would I want him anyway? My God is different. He’s light. He’s beauty. He’s justice. He’s hope. He’s everything this world can’t give me and that is part of why I believe and hope in him—not because he’s relevant but because he’s so very different from everything else I’ve ever known.

I don’t want to change God into my image; I want to be changed into his. I don’t want God to be current or progressive; I want him to be timeless and unchanging so I can anchor my soul to a rock who won’t move.

I’ve been reading my way through the Old Testament and am just a few pages into Leviticus. Leviticus is not easy reading, my friends. This book is all about rules and regulations and the very specific way God wants things done. Why? Because God is holy and not like us. Because God wants his people to be set apart and different from the people around them. Christianity is about God and about being his peculiar people. Though organized religion may falter and change, the God of the Bible and the way he desires his people to live never does.

Let’s not confuse changing our mistakes in religion with changing the timeless truth of God and his Word. Yes, God is relevant to modern culture but it’s not because we changed him and made him that way; it’s because he and his timeless truth are always relevant in every culture just as they are.

 

6 thoughts on “Is Modern Christianity Relevant?

  1. Absolutely wonderful post! I agree with everything you say and it is truly refreshing to see someone write what you did so clearly and so truthful. Christianity as a religion is no more useful than any other religion. But our faith is not about religion, but about a relationship with the living God. And it is real life. What more can we ask for?

    Thank you Kari

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  2. “Let’s show people how our peculiar, countercultural way of life is super relevant…” This phrase jumped out at me. So true as christians we are different.

    The danger is when we can’t tell the difference from a christian and a business man. I live in a country where political parites used to be at opposite ends of the spectrum. Today you can hardly tell the difference between the two except for the rhetoric that spews out.

    So if people don’t see any difference between us and the average Joe on the streets we are no longer a counter-culture.

    Well written. Bless you

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  3. No , I don’t believe that modern Christianity relevant because it allows them to stay within their sin.yes we do need to change the methods in which we get the gospel out but not the truth itself. Most of this generation is worried reaching people on a social and cerebral sense.

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  4. I completely agree with you Kari. Our faith isn’t a “buffet” where you go through and pick and choose what you want and throw out what you don’t agree with. Christianity is a narrow way, not the “cool” way, not the “hip” way. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on your blog today. And give Katniss an extra pat on the head for being such a good proofreader.

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  5. Very well said, Kari! In my opinion, “brew your own faith” tends to mean “water down the unchangeable truth” to make it more palatable, more fitting with current thought, and that’s a dangerous route to take.

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