Jamie came home several months ago and related to me one of the most interesting at-work conversations he'd ever had. We were both in awe. It was about religion. This guy, and I forget his name but wouldn't put in on here even if I could remember, was a regular church going type guy. But he expressed a curiousity at Jamie's passion for his faith and admitted it wasn't something they shared. He said "You're just more passionate about Christianity than I am...." and it wasn't a derogatory remark at all. He admitted that he went to church because it was just "what you did" on Sundays and that it didn't really translate into a lifestyle for all the rest of the days he spent on the planet. Very interesting. But also, in our own experience, very common.
In our house, we call this "Churchianity." It's the by-product of a mass produced faith, or the ATTEMPT at a mass produced faith. It looks like Christianity on the outskirts, but upon further examination, it's missing a little something.
When Jamie went out to sea for the first time, I decided I would make him a quilt for his second patrol. A little bit of handmade love to wrap around himself on the cold, lonely tin can he spent his days and nights on. This sparked a new passion in me and I went to town making quilts for every person in my house and for other loved ones. I had always loved the look of a handmade quilt and by golly, I was proud that these unique, beautiful creations could be traced back to my loving hands. Once, when I was short on time but anxious to get my daughter's bedroom redecorated, I opted for a store bought quilt. Martha Stewart, from Kmart, in a super pretty wedding ring pattern, in the most perfect blend of pinks and whites. It was gorgeous. But shotty. The stitches were too far apart and when it started unraveling (after just a couple washes) you could readily see the shortcuts taken to make this quilt. The seam allowance was nothing like your typical 1/4' on a handmade blanket and the fabrics were cheap and became thread-bare way sooner than they should have. Looked fine, but when really put to the test, it was nothing like a really, real quilt, made by loving hands with attention to every detail, including quality control.
And such is Churchianity. It looks remarkably like Christianity. It might even keep you warm at night, but eventually, it will wear itself thin and be a useless rag among many. It doesn't hold up. It's not rooted in anything other than cultural expectation and it gives Christianity a bad name. If all anyone knows is a piece of crap quilt that wears out after a couple washings, you can bet they aren't too awfully interested when you offer to make them a real quilt with your own hands. "No thanks" they will exclaim, " I had a quilt before and it was junk....I'd rather stick with fleece." And can you blame them?
You find people who hold up popular Christian titles as equal to the Bible, with promises of a prosperous life, rocking marital romantic relations, more friends than you can count and that every circumstance you encouter is "bearing a cross." It's a feel-good motivational marathon, discounting the real meat of the Word of God. It's really hard to take and it's really hard to live in a world where this brand of spirituality is so grossly misrepresented by people trying to make the faith so palatable, they leave out the truth of it. Sure, it tastes good (so does cotton candy...guess what that does for you??) but it's really of no value.
For a Christian who really lives and breathes the Word, this kind of sucks. It's like you are immediatley outcast the minute you bring up anything real. 'Well, that was back then...this is now..." or "Well, that's not what the scholars interpret that saying.." and so on and so forth. Now, I am not downplaying the awesomeness of those who have devoted their lives to studying and teaching their faith, but I will say that without *some* selling out to what they REALLY believe, they can't mass produce the message. They can't bring it to the many, because only a few will really hear. To me, I'd rather be true in who I am and what I believe with 5 people, than put on a mask to attract 50. Sadly, this does not pay the bills of the big buildings people gather and so in order to reconcile that which you need with that which you believe, you water it down a little. Make it go a little farther, even if in doing so, you distort the original intent.
I have, within my circle, passionate, God-loving Christians. They have tattoos, color their hair, wear make-up and earn money. They watch TV and play video games and even swear every now and then. They eat, breathe, live and love and yet I'm confident every single one of them has been called out at one point or the other for not being a REAL Christian.
But they are as real as real can get. They just don't do the fluffy, surface stuff that a good deal of Churchians hold up as the ultimate proof that one "walks with God."
They are unique in a world of mass production. They are a hand-made by God and not mass produced by man. They are Mary, rather than Martha (Stewart) and honestly, after the experience I had with her crappy quilts (from crappy Kmart) I'd rather have a handful of Mary's than a hundred Martha's any day of the week.