"Safe?" said Mr. Beaver."Who said anything about safe? 'Course he isn't safe. But he's good. He's the King, I tell you."
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe - C. S. Lewis

American spirituality is generally built around what makes one feel good. The choice of what you believe is not made for the sake of truth but rather what best satisfies you and makes you comfortable. We do not find our faith in what we find around us but in what we feel best fulfills who we want to be. Western religion is very focused on 'me'. Thank you, Descartes.

And thus this filters into Christianity by turning a church service into a self-help seminar complete with emotionally uplifting music and self-positivism all abundant. Now, Christianity should not be devoid of all these things. In fact, one of the amazing proofs of Christianity is its wide spectrum and balances. The problem with these things as the center of our worship is... well... we are worshiping ourselves, which sounds great to many a pagan, but should not be so for a follower of Christ.

Sometimes when you hear a gospel presentation you will be left to believe that Jesus's transforming sacrifice makes life for His believers all cherry's and roses (or whatever imagery one accepts as paradisal and happy). But this is a lie (assuming one isn't immediately killed upon conversion, I suppose). Life may in fact get harder in many senses. For your life is no longer your own, just as in a marriage. But our presentation as Jesus for the cureall for all hardships completely ignores our circumstances and looks ignorant and naive, but it caters to our selfish desires.

What we get is a cheapened image of God. One who is everything we want Him to be and nothing that we fear or dislike. We make ourselves a god over God in order to fulfill our desires and ignore His.

Christian radio stations are often very much immersed in this blind vision of Christianity. I have taken to cringing whenever I hear the word 'safe' used as the most important adjective for their ministry. Safe? Is that what we desire to be? It is certainly not how Jesus lived or what he preached about. But it is what we live... and what we too often preach about. And it is also empty. I realize when they say safe they are trying to say that you will feel comfortable letting your children listen to it. But again, if they are speaking truth, if they are uttering the words of Christ, should safety be the most important result of their ministry? There are many times when I read the words of Jesus and feel anything but safe. Or when I feel His call in my life to something, I don't know that it has ever been into a situation I would deem safe.

Why do we value safety?

Again, I need to remark that I am not throwing out all the beauty and comfort of the Cross. I am not saying we need to turn to self-flagellation in order to follow Jesus. That leads to yet another pitfall, and one I can sometimes more easily fit into (well, I like my safety for sure, but I've never felt it fit with the gospel, or at least am long removed from that thought) which perhaps makes me feel more self-righteous in throwing stones at the other folly.

But we would try to tame Jesus into saying only what makes us feel comfortable. Not what changes us. Not what truly frees us. And not what truly turns us into the beacon of hope we are called to be.

1 comment:

Skip said...

Amen and amen. Nice quotation too, it fits very well and holds a lot of truth in a subtle way. Christianity is anything but safe for a life in this world but beyond that it is the most safe thing ever.