Some days, I’d prefer to leave the amusement park and just go someplace else.
It is on these days that I ask God,
“Do you not care, anymore, about your people? Are you just going to let them die, asleep, complacently living a life of outward ablutions and inward materialism?”
I was in Costco the other day — my inward materialism by necessity is satisfied by three-liter bottles of olive oil and boxes of organic diced tomatoes — when I wandered through the book section. Not because I was interested in buying pop-culture products designed to manipulate my thinking as opposed to, say, tell a good story with a propaganda-free plot, but because I was waiting for my printer ink cartridges to be refilled. More materialism.
The Latest Christian “Literature”
I walked by the latest compelling, gripping, hard hitting historical novel aimed toward Christians. If the title, which had the name “Jesus” in it, weren’t enough to clue me in, the reading level of the prose, which hovered around fifth grade, finished the job. For some reason, mass media publishers are convinced that Christians are unable to read, and comprehend, complex, sophisticated, intellectual material. I do so hope that they are not right.
To be honest, “Jesus” wasn’t the first word I noticed; the author’s name — above “Jesus” and the same font size, shouted out. And given that more people — too many of them Christians — listen to this man’s words than read those of Jesus, this is understandable from a marketing point of view. (Incidentally, Jesus fared better than the co-author, whose name is squished in between the Famous Media Commentator Who Wants to Be Known as an Historian and a Novelist Too and . . . oh yeah, Jesus.)
I flip flip flipped the pages, rapidly gathering the impression that this forceful exposé of Christ’s life and death was nothing more than a compilation of the four Gospels, in prose form, with “historical background facts” sprinkled in here and there to give an illusion of authenticity and scholarly research. (Herod had gout. And an STD. The pugio was a sharp weapon carried by the Romans.)
Flip flip flip to the end, when Mary Magdalene arrives at the empty tomb: the body of Jesus was never found. End of story.
Considering that all four Gospels, upon which the history of Jesus is based, don’t stop at the missing body, this is an interesting way to conclude the tale of “the most influential man in history,” and gives credence to the author’s (oh wait, authors’, there were two, weren’t there?) intent to focus on the humanity of Jesus, at the expense of acknowledging his divinity.
(He is God, you know. He doesn’t just say it. He is it, I AM and all that.)
College Graduates Barely Reading Chapter Books
Christians: are we truly reading this stuff? Is this the best that we can do?
Are the Gospels so difficult to understand — so beyond the fifth grade reading level of a populace that is largely graduated from high school, and a significant number additionally holding college degrees — that we need them simplified, compiled, sanitized, and explained for us?
Do we believe, and read, everything a media personality says and writes simply because we recognize his face? Do we ever say,
“You’re a sensible man, and you say some sensible things, but I retain my right to not believe everything that you say. Only God deserves allegiance like that.”
We live in a world of pop culture that worships people — because they act, because they sing, because they sit behind a desk and “interpret” the “news” for us, because they say they’re Christian and make a point about their church attendance — and if we don’t actively stand up and resist the mass media message and the peer pressure from the pews, we will drift along on our floaties to . . . complacency, conformity, subservience, tractability and an acceptance of all that our leaders — political and religious — instruct us to believe.
We won’t make any impact on the culture around us because, as Christians, we are not actively seeking Jesus and asking Him to impact us.
Not everything you read has to be highbrow — I mean, I love trashy spy novels from the 1960s. At the same point, don’t allow everything you read to be dumbed down to the point that Jane Austen is impossible to comprehend. You’re smarter than that.
Thank you for joining me at Commonsense Christianity. Do you know who and what I am? I’m an ordinary Christian — sort of a modern Hebrew fisherman, or goat herd, or woman at the well — someone who isn’t important, isn’t brilliant, isn’t influential, and isn’t powerful.
But I’m a Child of the King, and I’m compelled to use the gifts that He has given me — the desire to write and the inability to shut up and leave the room — to reach out to anyone who is reading. I walk where He leads me, which is what He asks all of His children to do.
What about you? What is He asking you to do? If you don’t know, ask, and He’ll answer in His own way, but if you’re truly seeking an answer, you will get it.
God needs His people — all of us ordinary people — doing His work, reading His words, listening for His voice. Turn off the TV. Tune out the voices. Quit following human beings.
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What “Should” Your Child Be Reading? (at my sister site, This Woman Writes)