You can do a lot in the world of online garage sales. You can have auctions, sell some of your own stuff, and even place a ‘Wanted’ ad if you’re in the market for something. It’s recommended that you include a ‘condition’ (usually new, gently used, used, etc.) in the description to help people figure out if they should respond. So, for example, if I wanted a dining room table, and I was comfortable with a couple of dings or scratches, I might put out an ad like this:
‘Wanted – Dining Room Table, New or Gently Used’
Over the last few years, I’ve watched as Christianity and culture seem to get further and further from each other. And while I certainly don’t know all of the reasons why the walls of the church get higher, so to speak, each year, I do have an idea or two.
Many in the church seem to be trying to ‘collect’ their Christianity, in the same way as any other collector would. Churches seem to serve as large display cases or china cabinets for pristine figures, comics, or dishes. They seem to be concerned with preserving the quality of their wares instead of fully using them.
Here are a couple of thoughts on ‘collecting’ Christianity:
This was never the intention – A couple of years ago, I built my first table. It’s an 8ft long, rustic patio table for my back patio. It took a couple of days, and spending some time with a mentor to help me learn some tricks of the trade (thanks again Pete). After about a week’s worth of casual work and staining, the time finally came for me to move it out of the garage and onto my back patio.
Except I didn’t want too.
I began to worry about everything that could go wrong: weather sealing not working, theft, wind, etc. I had invested hours and dollars putting this table together, and so I got nervous that something would happen to my investment. I even began to wonder about moving into my dining room, where it could be safe. That table was designed and built to be used outside. That was it’s original intention.
Christianity isn’t meant to be preserved inside of a building somewhere. It’s meant to be used, exposed to the elements, and shared. Christ intended for us to make disciples, not collectables.
Christianity isn’t fragile – One of the classic/cliche wedding gifts is china. These porcelain dishes are treated with a varying degree of reverence, depending on whose home you’re visiting. Some people will store it in elaborate cabinets or cases, while others will just keep it packaged up and in the attic. Few, if any, will use them as everyday dishes, for fear of chipping or cracking. In order to preserve the china, we only use it so ‘special occasions’ – holiday dinners, family reunions, or a particularly honored guest shows up.
Too many Christians try to preserve their faith by using similar rules or customs: it really only comes out in certain places (churches, not bars), at certain times (worship services or Bible studies, but not work), around certain people (friends and family, but not strangers). I’m not saying we need to wave our faith like a flag in everybody’s face, but we act like Christianity will be ruined if there’s a crack in it.
If Christianity is true, then there is nothing in the world that could “break” it. Christ never called us to a pristine, well maintained life.That’s not what holiness is. We’re called to make disciples, which is messy and dangerous work.
My hope for my own faith is that I arrive before Christ in tatters, with rips, tears, and frayed edges.
That way, no matter what the outcome, I can say I used it.
Remember, I love you and there’s nothing you can do about it…
One thought on “Wanted – Christianity, Very Used…”
The tatters, the frays, the rips & tears…they represent this ideology (prosperity) that we’re incomplete, somehow not worthy of God’s attention. But, yet, we are called to get dirty, tired, uncomfortable……………challenged.
So much fear of being challenged is directly related to “height of the walls” of our American churches. Afraid to be wrong. Afraid to be humiliated. Afraid to have to state the case for our belief.
And so, we miss out on so much of the growth and “getting used”. Stuff like persistence, patience, perseverance, CHARACTER, and joy. Continue to challenge me. Display cases are a great temptation to destroy!
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