Friday, July 8, 2011

Evangelicals, postmoderns & Kool-aid...

My family and I just got back from a mission to trip to London, England this past week.  My wife is not a huge fan of drinking "un-bottled" water.  That is not a bad thing; it's just the way it is.  Give her the option of a Coke or water from the tap & she will take the Coke every time.  Anyways, whenever she travels, she brings along little packs of Kool-aid, lemonade, Gatoraid, etc. to help with the challenge of drinking foreign water.  Well the water in England was amazing so we have like 50 packets of Kool-aid left over.  Every now and then I have been mixing in a cherry flavored packet into my water to I guess "relive" my childhoold memories.  Saturday, it was like 92 degrees and I mowed the lawn at mid day.  When I came in, I took a washed out apple sauce glass jar (like a 64 ounce one), filled it with water and stired in 2-3  packets of Kool-aid to get some flavor going.  After about 10 sips I had the thought, "this can't be good for me."  So I dumped it all out.  At the very bottom I discoverd an entire layer of pure white sugar.  It had just settled on the bottom (and to think parents in the 80's pretty much ran a medical IV into the arm of every child in America and pumped this sugar laced substance into our bodies; with of course a side of Kraft macaroni & cheeese).  Looks can be deciving.  Here I am drinking this beautiful iced red Kool-aid that looks and tastes somewhat refreshing.  Inside however, it contained the distortion of white sugar and red #5. 

If Christianity is supposed to be "water," then the view of Christianity in the current century is like Kool-aid.  Today's defenition of "true Christianity" involves conversations around: postmodernity, evangelicalism, orthodoxy, liberalism, right wing conservatives, calvanism, reformed, pre-trib vs. post trib rapture, etc.  All great for magazine articles, pod casts, Youtube, and conversations involving latte's.   But whatever happened to the simplicity of following Jesus.  I have done street evangelism; I get it; sometimes people ask broad and deep question and you need information to give them in response.  It makes us look like we know our stuff and that Christianity is the right choice.  But maybe that isn't the point.  Maybe it's not about knowing our "stuff."  Jesus really didn't debate theology.  He said things to the "theologians" like: repent, forgive, follow me, etc.  His message was simple and people could wrap their minds around it, and go out and apply it to their lives instantly. 

I just listened to a 16 minute pod cast, by a well known author and speaker.  He is actually a very good writter and he loves Jesus.  The message was about the present shift in Christianity today and the future shape of evangelicalism. - and I have absolutally no idea what he was talking about.  Jesus said things like, "Love your neighbor."  And, "deny yourself."  Simple and yet life altering.  Why have we gotten away from that?

According to sources, there are over 38,000 known Christian denominations.  If we researched each of them, they would have different creeds and interpretations of scriptures, and veiws on females in ministry and whether or not communion should consist of wine & bread OR grape juice & Saltines.  Not saying it is sin.  Just saying, maybe it taints the purity of Jesus just a little bit.  Maybe it confuses some people so much, they choose to go in another direction & don't consider Jesus at all.  Not because Jesus it difficult; but rather, that we as his followers, have made him confusing.

So again I ask - if following Jesus is supposed to be like driking pure refreshing water ("if you drink of Me, you will never thirst again"), why do we keep filling it with "impurities" like Kool-aid.  We argue about who is right and who is wrong; who is a heretic; whether angels have long hair or short hair; etc.  It's the same as taking a nice pure refreshing cup of cold water and dumping in sugar, yellow #5, yellow #6, and red 40...and sure, why not throw in a little sweet and low.  Drink it and it wont kill you, but it does tank the original purity of the water....

Are these denominations wrong?  No.  Are all these views and interpretations sin?  No.  But if we are not careful, we can taint the original purity of what it means to be a follower of Jesus.