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    Tuesday, October 21, 2008

    What's so BIG about Authenticity? Pt. 4

    One thing I've noticed about teenagers is that they can spot a "fake" person from a mile away. It's as if they have radar to sniff out a person posing. In the Church, this "fake" person motif is all to familiar. We say things like: "I'll pray for you brother" (and don't do it nor mean it). We see people acting different than they do at church in their homes, their jobs, and their schools. And I tell you that this fake face has become a negative pungent stench in the nostrils of today's youth. I will continuously quote UnChristian due to it's prophetic nature into today's youth and in this book, they've found that 85% of people 16-29 find the church as a whole (meaning us Christians) to be hypocritical! (By the way, I agree)
    Being authentic is NOT being hypocritical. 1 John 1:5-10 says: "This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives".
    In bold is the call to Authenticity. We need to confess our sins, this is WALKING in the Light! We admit out junk. This means, we're honest, we're open, we're vulnerable. This type of authentic community brings fellowship with both God and men (read the italicized portion)! Also, this type of authenticity is attractive to the world, they need a place to admit their junk! The World NEEDS the church to be a place that says: "Oh, you're messed up? You're a sinner? All of us are too! We've messed up (and still do sometimes) but let us show you the LOVE of Christ, and give you the KEY to life!" A place that is willing to LOVE, take in sinners, be real with them and show the Christ (the Light) is a place that will be BOOMING with non-Christians!
    Non-Christians (especially 16-29 year olds) FEAR going into a church because they will feel like everyone hates them, they will feel as if they are un-welcome because of their problems. They will feel isolated because they would be made to feel that they are the only person there with issues! Yet, if we could create an AUTHENTIC place where they will no longer feel this way, we could see this generation (and the next) come to Christ like NO OTHER generation in history!

    In my next segments on authenticity, I will show how it does COST us to create this type of atmosphere, I will share more from 1 John about what this Authenticity creates and lastly, I will show how this type of Authentic living brings about the HEALING that God desires for us! Stay Tuned and PLEASE let me know your thoughts!


    dcfox said...

    -had to redo my thought, ADD makes that really hard!-
    I like what you have to say, sounds right on.
    I was thinking about relativism and non responsiblity (not irresponsiblity), sometimes there is a cop-out that looks like seeking authentic but it is really about avoiding the acceptence of accountablity in the world. I think there is a sense of vulnerabilty that can over come this if Christians are willing to grow relationships and become intimate with those who seek out Christ. However, I think this is something that is lacking because it is hard to "program" this effectively, it needs to be demonstrated... that is how Christ did it. He demonstrated his Love for us. I think some of us have difficulty because we don't know how to demonstrate it, Im not talking eclesiasticly, but... for example, I had a youth leader that I rode my bike to his house... he was "available", when I went to Pitt, there were youth leaders who engaged us individually, and were available. This "trained" me (and notice it wasn't just one "Pastor") today, I can have authentic relationships with teens and their parents. My problem is parents who don't realize that I have these relationships being concerned about my depth in doctrine that they don't think is backed up with relationship. Today, people are not always available, but also the culture has moved away from that being the acceptable way to do things, you need to be "programmed", or that is the pastor's job, let the church do it,or worst, don't do it, your a lay person, your not qualified, and then the church accepts this responsibility (that is not exactly theirs) and then programs the authenticity so it comes out more robotic.
    How do we authentically demonstrate his love in a world that has difficulty with both authenticity, and with taking time to demonstrate or accepting someone elses demonstration? How do we engage willing lay leaders and pastors in the same playing field without "programish" idealism? I am not saying no boundaries, but boundaries that are about doctrine or safety not the way this book said it should be done. (I had a problem with shepparding in SM before,because we did it in battalion but not with those words, but Pastor wanted "those words" it got so wrapped up in symantics that the authenticiy was lost to the logos!)..then we were all out of breath (greek translation humor there) I see this the crux of the peril of the Christain church. We are falling into the hollow of the reformers churches that house people in God and of the world, not in the world but of God. It starts with our lack of authentic relationships. If we are to change this, I believe it is the Pastorial duty to raise up people who have the gifts necessary build relationships with them for the expressed and intentional purpose of reaching out in authenticity, to both the church and the world. in a 2/4 ratio... or something like this ratio, just something I dropped in numbers. In this way we reach out more vitally as a church body, not a program or ministry.