Whose Disciples?

Christ and the Apostles by Georges Rouault 

For a while now I’ve been bothered by much of what I’m witnessing in the Christian world.

From where I sit, a large chunk of the Church presents as meaner, colder, less compassionate, and less principled today than it was a handful of years ago.

I watch as people I’ve known to be kind, caring folk resort to name calling, hateful language, and even calls to violence. I watch as people dismiss gentleness or concern for neighbor as weakness. As people who claim to follow Truth spread falsehoods and deny reality even as it gasps for breath right in front of them.

The only explanation I can think of is not a comfortable one – we become like what we worship. I fear too many of us have fixed our eyes on political power and those who wield it rather than Jesus.

“We vote for a president not a pastor” has demonstrated itself a bankrupt idea. For many our conversations, online presence, and the way we treat each other has proven not just our votes are at stake, but also our very hearts and minds and souls.

It turns out that who we vote for and champion and the media we consume and the memes we share all shape us. They form us in their image. The word for this is discipleship.

I wonder whose disciples we have become? Whose message do we spread? Whose language do we adopt? Whose values do we carry? In my view we continue to look and sound less like Jesus (no matter how much lip service we give him) and more like our preferred politicians.

This is problematic. Scripture calls it idolatry.

It happens without us realizing it and I am beyond convinced it is happening throughout our country.

I say this from a place of contrition. I am a guilty party. I must be better. We must be better.

For the sake of Christ. For the sake of our witness to the world. For the sake of the healing we could be offering in these troubled times.

We have much work to do. We must relearn what it means to be Christlike. We must unlearn the stories of any competing narratives. We have much to ask forgiveness for and much realignment of priorities to get after.

It will start with humility and repentance. With taking seriously the call to knock it off and turn from the direction we are going (a direction that is leading to our destruction) and head back the way God intends, whatever the cost.

It will not be easy. It will not be fun. It won’t seat us in power or make us rich, but it is the only way we will find what we are most in need of and the only way the Church can continue to call herself Christian.

It is our most serious task.

God help us be faithful.

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