Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Christianity Light

People who prove to be faithful, available, and teachable in churches today seem to be too few. I see many who display one or two of these qualities, but very few are fully F-A-T in their Christian lives especially as they function within the body of Christ.

Looking specifically at the area of teachability, I think this quality is essential to continuing spiritual growth. Seemingly, though, many Christians are satisfied with some level of understanding to which they have attained. It seems that many are comfortable with a very light does of biblical Christianity.

In a related area of teaching and learning, it seems that within conservative circles of Christianity, personal knowledge of God has taken a backseat among those who are interested in learning as they prefer to build up their understanding of topics which would fall more into the category of apologetics. (There is nothing wrong with apologetics, of course.) In practical terms, this person is the one who desires to substantiate his or her position as a "defense of the faith." The ability to defend Christianity and certain tenets of the faith seems to have become the primary motivation of many today. Truly knowing God is of secondary worth in many minds. I am often reminded of J. I. Packer's now famous words: "A little knowledge of God is worth more than a great deal of knowledge about him."

Many Christians display an openness and desire to learn about "hot topics" which dominate the public debates like abortion, the Bible and homosexuality, or evolution/creation. However, the desire of many Christians seems to stall at having a somewhat removed, second-hand knowledge about God that provides them with the necessary answers to questions. I liken this to knowing everything about the movies without ever sitting in the theater to watch a movie. It would be shallow to know all the facts about what films Sean Connery has appeared in and to have never actually seen any of them.

There seems to be a cultural taboo against true Christian spirituality, by which I am referring to one's personal knowledge of who God is which comes through the reading and study of God's Word, the Bible. Maybe the taboo is only perceived, but I think it is real.

I was standing in a two-story bookstore the other day peering down at the aisles and shelves of books. The view was shocking because of what stood out so clearly on all those shelves: "Idiot's Guide to ______" and "_______ for Dummies" was everywhere - the orange and yellow framed covers standing out. In seemingly every section of the bookstore the sum total was there in one of these "dumbed down" versions.

In Christianity today, it seems that what many desire is merely the dumbed down version. People do not want the Bible; they want to have a summary of it. People do not want to know God; they merely want to know enough about God to get by.

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