I had a couple ideas for a post this week. I began writing them out and they were pretty awesome. I think lives would have been changed. They fit the perfect “Christian blog” mold. Both stated an observation or funny event that happened to me and ended with some thoughts on “I think Jesus is a bit like that…”, creating the perfect Jesus juke. But my conscious didn’t allow me to write the posts. With the average American consuming 33 pounds of cheese per year, I didn’t want to add on to that, not with America on the verge of a constipation epidemic.
So instead, you’ll just be stuck with the thoughts of a typical 20-something who thinks he knows it all. I know, I’m a big bag of clichés. I know that this isn’t everybody’s experience, but it’s mine. I learned only a handful of lessons growing up in the church, but my church made sure they got each lesson across; teaching each one about a thousand times:
• Get an accountability partner
• Don’t sleep around
• Don’t drink, smoke or chew – or go with girls who do
• The 5 stones David picked up to slay Goliath represent tithing, studying the word, tithing, prayer, and tithing
Maybe some things on the list are a bit sarcastic, but probably not too far off from the truth. Some of those principles may be important (others are debatable) in the Christian life, but it left a feeling of “is this really it?” Nothing radical or challenging about following Jesus. At least nothing that challenges the cultural values of power, personal rights and acquisition. There was no real alternative from the world.
It wasn’t until much later in life when I discovered the beauty and radicalness of following Jesus. A way that calls for love of enemy, viewing others more important that yourself, taking care of the lowly, embracing power by serving and rejecting power over people…if a person takes all of that literally, it should go against everything the world stands for. The Christian life doesn’t promise safety or affluence, only that you will be persecuted because it goes against the powers that be here on earth and in the spiritual realm.
Want specifics? I don’t like listing specifics. It will be different for everybody. Want to know what God’s will for your life is? The above is a good start. All Christians are called to live the Sermon on the Mount and Romans 12 by taking the words literally. Am I fully living it out? Of course not, that could get a man into a lot of trouble. Part of me hopes that one day I’ll get there.
I recently heard a pastor say that we’ve domesticated what it means to follow Jesus – that it’s more demanding to be a vegan than a Christian. Ouch. At first I thought it was silly, but after thinking about it, I couldn’t disagree that being a vegan would be harder for me. I don’t think I could give up my 33 pounds of cheese.