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What Christian faith isn't

The Christian faith is a seriously rotten way to get life under control. Anyone who turns to it for that is looking for a fantasy and will, sooner or later, have to face inevitable disillusionment, either with bitterness or with repentance.

See, Jesus promises two things in this world: suffering and His presence. If you want a system to make life work, keep looking. If you want an answer for every question, consult Google and your local library. If you want all your relationships fixed, tune in to Drs. Phil, Laura, Drew, Ruth, and a host of other first names.

Jesus' other promise is the anchor of the Christian hope: the resurrection. If this life is all there is, believers are quite nutty-nuts and are to be pitied. But we who believe are called to fix our hope there and work backward.

The power of the resurrection is not reserved for the last day. The Kingdom advances now, with power to save and to heal, with justice coupled with mercy. Every mark of it is the assurance of our blessed hope. That frees us to risk big on Him, to let go and walk free of our desire to get our lives working by systems of our own devising. We don't have to live in fear of suffering because, quite bluntly, if we follow Him (and probably if we don't), it's coming anyway. But it's not the last word.

The true power and comfort of the Kingdom is the King. He is sovereign, and that's the point. When He doesn't give us a system for controlling our lives, that's a grace. In fact, it's more than that by far. In ancient times, objects used by people to try to get reality to conform to their desires were called idols. The things we use to try to take control still are. And the King won't share His throne. Thank God.

Can Christianity be an idol? Yeahsureyoubetcha. It can be the ugliest one of the bunch.

Comments

There's a sorrow to what you said ... but also reason for rejoicing. The Kingdom advances now!! Amen and hallelujah!!
I've seen some people who take it as a popularity thing... "who can act like the bigger christian" and stuff and when you really look close, they are really horrible people :(
The Christian faith is a seriously rotten way to get life under control. Anyone who turns to it for that is looking for a fantasy and will, sooner or later, have to face inevitable disillusionment, either with bitterness or with repentance.

Yes. That is how I came to Christianity. My faith was real, but man was I disappointed! Bitterness, then repentance.

At the same time, I suffer (we all do) and I know He is there. But, my life gets out of control when I leave His side, so in a fashion I still need the faith to keep my life in control :)

Does that fit with your thoughts?
I think so; here are my thoughts:

...my life gets out of control when I leave His side, so in a fashion I still need the faith to keep my life in control...

I'd suggest that, if He is sovereign (He is), our faith brings us in alignment with reality. Our lives, Christian and not, are in control—His. We can either live into that or run away from it; each has its consequences.

I don't mean to suggest we have no control; self-control is part of the fruit of the Spirit. But reality is under His authority. It can be tempting to think that being a Christian will somehow give us that kind of control by having the right habits, values, morals, answers, etc., but that's idolatry of which we must be broken if we are to have an authentic relationship with Him.

And true faith never, ever makes us immune to suffering. More often, it brings it (that seems to be a Scriptural constant). But it also brings joy, strength, and hope.
Sorry I took so long to respond to this, it was quite a while ago!

I think you not only re-worded thoughts I also have, but helped me understand them better - I agree and thanks.

systems

For a while now I've been noticing in the media an increased, normalized profile for Scientology and Mormonism; it'll be mentioned in passing that a subject is an adherent, and invariably it is accompanied with the assertion, literally or implied, that it's nothing remarkable, just that it "works" for them.

Yeah, that's what I want my life to be characterized: nothing remarkable, just that it "works."

Thanks for reminding me how that's not what's intended for us.

Re: systems

that's a great observation. thanks for posting.

neurotic to the bone

why do i feel like you are speaking directly to me, as if this is how i portray myself..forgive my self centerness.

Re: neurotic to the bone

I didn't have you in mind; I was just wrestling with some thoughts this morning.
it's true. when jesus calls a man, he bids him come and die...
this is not a lifestyle, it is a complete submission.
control is an issue i have written so extensively about. it's hard. and the church so often sanctifies our internal desires to be in control and calls them discipline. it is wisdom to know the difference between submission to another - my yoke is easy, and my burden is light - and the one who tries to get the same results on their own strength. the kingdom is good because the king is good. and that's the reality.

i painted this this weekend: I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead. i want to know him - with all the power and suffering wrapped up in that - that one day i could embrace the reason he first embraced me. :) this passage always straightens out my head... and my heart.
Thanks for this. Great post.