Let's face it, Christianity is not in fashion at the moment.
Just because we live in a society where Jesus isn't trendy like yoga doesn't mean he doesn't exist and isn't real.
Jesus is beyond current social trends and fashion because God doesn't change, "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever" (Hebrews 13:8).
One of the reasons for the "not in fashion" statement is that I feel the traditional Church has made Christianity about itself through religion instead of Jesus. Personally I follow Jesus first and the church second. Christian spirituality should not be confused with Christian religion - they are not the same. If the church was actually serious about the gospel they would actually go out into the world, do the things that Jesus taught, share the gospel and serve instead of getting caught up in their own constitutions, politics, hierarchy and academic back patting. Instead, they wait and expect people to show up at their Sunday services with no prior knowledge of Jesus which I believe is totally unrealistic. They have also created a culture of co dependence with their congregations instead of empowering them spiritually.
The amount of books that the Christian publishing industry dedicate to the prosperity Gospel and put on book shelves is also misleading the truth about what Jesus taught. They are driven by money and this false teaching taps into people's selfish desires.
The institutional Church has turned a lot of people off and rightly so. It doesn't resemble the Kingdom of Heaven that Jesus taught about and has been twisted and manipulated to suit the ways of the world and those who hold the power. The church has somehow managed to convince everyone that being a Christian is about ceremonies, bowing and kneeling at the right time which is exactly what Jesus cracked the shits about in the Jewish church (read Matthew 23). They have failed to explain to the wider population who and why Jesus is spiritually so important in our social context and to us as human beings. We need to get back to Jesus himself without all the religion and man made stuff getting in the way and get the love back in the house. It's a really sad state of affairs.
I love that Jesus didn't put up with any crap in the Jewish church when it came to people "keeping up appearances". He cut them straight down and said don't even bother pretending to be holy because God knows your hearts and what you are really like. Things have kind of gone full circle again, I think Jesus would be very angry that this is happening in his Church! Again today, outward ceremonies have become a glorified procrastination strategy for actually leaving the church and helping someone in need like Jesus would.
The traditional church really needs some help with marketing the gospel message in the world and getting out of their own way so God can actually work through them.
Then there's all the naughty stuff they've done to get the community offside. All I can say is this...
Jesus is perfect and his followers aren't. The bible is full of generation after generation stuffing things up. Please don't let the imperfection of the Church get in the way of you getting to know or having a relationship with Jesus. I get annoyed when the churches present themselves as the only way to have an encounter with God which whether purposeful or not is a way of establishing co dependence, maintaining power and preserving job security.
I believe you don't necessarily need a church to find God, you can pray to him anytime you want and say hi. If you want to have a spiritual encounter with him my advice is just be yourself and ask him and let him do the rest. Yes church is a good place to go and be with other Christians but I don't necessarily believe it is exclusively where God can be found.
There are so many reasons why I believe in Jesus, what he said and the relevance of his actions. For me it just makes sense. I really like this scripture: "Christ is the visible image of the invisible God" (Bible - Colossians 1:15). The characteristics I see in Jesus show me what God is like. For me God has to be about love, compassion, kindness, peace and all those other beautiful spiritual things that can't be man made. God for me can't be any other way.
I love that Jesus was so radical and anti-establishment. How he isn't 'fashionable' is beyond me, he is the coolest wise dude that ever lived. But would God really send us a dud? Again, I blame the church for his poor PR, he needs to fire them and find new people to share his message.
It makes sense to me that God would send a messenger to us to tell us that we have gone off track as people and teach us what is important in God's eyes. I still cannot fully comprehend the magnitude of God's generosity and love that he would send Jesus who he loves so much and have him die for us. But that is the way that God rolls, his ways are not our ways. All I can say is I accept his amazing gift of redemption!
Having Jesus in my life allows me to be who I really am. He loves me no matter what. How can I ever fail with this love?
When I compare what he stands for compared to what the world values, I know that his way is the truth. I know that in following him I've made the right choice.
If you have read this far you probably need a beer, and if you have anything to say about what I've said drop me a line.
Thanks for reading and all the best on your spiritual journey.