Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Me-Focused Religion?

Josh Harris wrote this a few years ago about how he grew up:

"Like many Christians my faith was often two parts Americanism and one part Christianity with a good dose of self-esteem thrown in. The poster on the wall of one Sunday school class read: "God made me and God don't make no junk."

I received the subtle but pervasive message of independence in my faith. As one writer put it, my faith was about Jesus and me, not Jesus and "we". I remember being told that if I had been the only sinner in the world Jesus would have died just for me. Now I treasure the fact that God loves us individually and that Christ died for me. But it seems that even this truth can be twisted into a celebration of self at the expense of the fact that Godís amazing plan has always been to save for himself a people. Since the days of Adam and Eve there have always been at least two sinners in need of saving. Today millions have been saved through faith in Christ and yet with our rugged individualist tendency we find a way to make God's great plan of salvation mostly about ourselves.

Maybe that's why we love to talk about having a "personal relationship" with Jesus. It's a wonderful truth, but do we misuse it? Hey, it's nice to know that no matter how annoying other Christians might be, we can go into our rooms, shut the door and have our personal, exclusive relationship with Jesus. If other Christians let us down we can make it on our own.

But can we really? And were we meant to try?"

May God save us from independent, self-esteem based, America-focused Christianity!

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