What We're Seemingly Embarassed Of
It’s a refrain I hear often from Christians my age, and it goes something like this: “Yeah, I’m a Christian, but I’m not that kind of Christian.”
The that in the sentence can refer to an abnormally large amount of items. In the last few years, it seems to have a lot to do with cultural realities. You know, that kind of Christian—the one who doesn’t peruse around the coolest blogs or podcast, the one who enjoys early 2000’s contemporary Christian music, or isn’t up to date on the latest satire filled comedy show.
It seems as if young, millennial Christians today have to meet a kind of embarrassment quota of different items in Christian sub-culture in fear that they might not be accepted by those “less weird” Christians.
What We Should Be Embarassed Of
Now, I get it. As someone who didn’t grow up in the church and is now submersed in the Christian culture, there is a lot that looks strange to those on the outside and to a growing number of those on the inside. We use strange words, listen to strange music, give strange side-hugs, and for the most part are really strange. This article isn’t written with the intention of getting you to think that Christian sub-culture isn’t weird – because it most assuredly is and I hope a lot of it dies of rather quickly.
Instead, it’s written as a hopeful warning and correction.
The warning comes as a warning that for all of our efforts of distancing ourselves with old and outdated Christianity and the current Christians we’re embarrassed of, we oftentimes come across much more pretentious than we think we do. I’m also scared of the fact that it appears some of us find a sort of quasi-self-justification by not being on the socially abnormal side of Christianity.
The correction comes as a hopeful replacement and reshifting of embarrassment. What I mean is that, in today’s church, it seems as if we are embarrassed of the wrong things.
Instead of being embarrassed about the untalented, four-chord, cheesy-lyric, Christian song that will somehow get a ten year shelf life, we should be embarrassed that for hundreds of years Christianity and the Scriptures were used to perpetrate systemic racism and the fact that there are an absurd amount of Christians who are convinced that this is no longer an issue today.
Instead of being embarrassed of that friend who wants to awkwardly tell the waitress who couldn’t be less interested about Jesus, let’s be embarrassed that when many non-believers think of Christ, they think of judgmental sticklers who make it seem like rules and regulations are the backbone of the Christian faith.
Let’s be embarrassed that, for many Christians, the idea of enjoying your faith is a foreign concept and the idea of God as the wellspring of all pleasure is an uncomfortable thing to think of.
Let’s be embarrassed at the misuse of the word "faith" to promote a detrimental form of anti-intellectualism in the church.
Let’s be embarrassed that the gospel is so easily replaced with self-help, prosperity garbage that we’ve exported to other countries.
These things, and many more like them, are worth being embarrassed of, not our outdated, silly sub-cultures. If we would spend half as much time dreaming of ways to repent of these actual embarrassments and pursue reconciliation as we spend dreaming of new ways to sarcastically make fun of Christian sub-culture, then people might start to see the Church as a refuge for weary souls as opposed to an unwanted tag-along.
In all our embarassments, remember one thing.
Again, one doesn’t have to look far or deep in the church today to find a numerous amounts of reasons to be embarrassed. Yet in our embarrassment, let’s remember one thing: these embarrassing people happen to be Jesus’ bride.
It seems as if we as Christians don’t think that the devil does his job very well, for maybe our sarcastic words and mocking finger pointing comes out of the idea that he’s not a skilled enough accuser.
Christians, the church doesn’t need another accuser. The Church needs men and women who love the bride of Jesus. As he set his face to give his life for her, we set ours to seeing her thrive. She belongs to him. His torn flesh and spilt blood was for the embarrassing—those like you and me.