The world, so beautiful and glorious. Each day is filled with a new wonder, and something new shines greater each morning than the day before. Even on the cloudiest of days, looking up at the sky brings the promise that blue skies and sun are not too far away. The clouds that veil the sun break for an instant, and contentment shines down. And if we’re breathing, no matter how belabored that effort becomes with age or emotions, we are blessed. To live. To exist. To be who we are despite all common sense telling us this should not be. That is a blessing. And I can pray to my creator thanking him for each and every day.
But there’s a light, and it’s gone out somewhere in the darkness. The fuse has blown, or the smoldering ashes of a fire have died to the bitterness of the elements. Just this once, time has won the battle.
I could sit here, and I could type another one of the many, many blog posts I’ve seen floating around the blogosphere. These posts harshly criticize the “Merry Christmas Starbucks movement,” pointing out the obvious: that Christians are dumb for reacting to a minimalist red cup like they do. That it’s complete hubris and naiveté to ask for a direct acknowledgment of our beliefs in the thousands of ideologies that permeate society. That, despite Christianity being the most popular religion on the planet, we’re not living in a Christian world. But all of this really should go without saying, and if we’re this badly confused about how the world works, maybe we should get out in it more, as opposed to just sitting in church soaking up the emotional fulfillment of reciting repetitive worship songs.
I have a love-hate relationship with the modern “Christian,” and I say that despite being an ardent believer in Jesus as my savior. I would also like to clarify what I mean by “Christian,” because I think we have a bit of a PR problem. The media is getting into the habit of portraying the worst of the worst, taking extreme examples of life and treating them like they’re everyday activities. We go about out daily lives unlikely to ever encounter the next mass shooting. They have us running scared from ebola, refusing to eat Chipotle, and switching between white and wheat bread on a weekly basis. So it’s no surprise that they’d take a few people with a Starbucks cup and stereotype the entire 2.2 billion “Christians” with it. That generalization is damaging for Christians. But I’m not blaming the media for this occurrence, despite the fact that they started this mess. They also started the Chick-Fil-A anti-gay crisis, constantly associate White male bigotry with Christians, and keep the world routinely apprised of the latest shenanigans of the Westboro Baptist Church.
Still, behind every stereotype are elements of the truth, often picked up from the experience of outsiders, and I think I know how that applies in this situation. The church of late has slowly shifted from an extraverted entity to an introverted society. Looking objectively, the church used to be far more mission-oriented. Conversion to Christianity was always a goal, yes, but the main focus was on helping people in need. We recognized the catastrophic nature of some people’s lives, and we tended to their physical, mental, and emotional needs. We’ve built churches, schools, homeless shelters, and food banks. Our job was to reach out to people, whether around the corner or around the world, and assist them with their negative circumstances. And yes, if God used us to intervene in their spiritual lives and they recognized a need for a savior, that’s one more thing that could keep us smiling at night. But we didn’t have the energy to argue about Starbucks cups because we were too tired from helping people in need.
I’m not saying we don’t do that anymore. I know many Christians that do. I’m saying we’re distracted.
This is the age of the mega church, where Christian communities are run like a business and the focus is on putting on the best concert each and every Sunday morning. Our hymns have become pop songs, devoid of substance and stripped of meaning. And church is not about serving others but instead about making ourselves feel comfortable. Political corruption in not limited to government, instead our denominations – our political parties – determine how we interpret the divine constitution of God. We don’t have time to help others or live a fulfilling life because we’re too busy arguing about eternal security or predestination or whatever the controversy of the week is. We’ve forgotten what it means to be a Christian.
Being a Christian is about putting your prejudices aside and loving the person next to you despite who they are or what they’ve done to you. It’s about helping people using the gifts that God has given you. It’s about adhering to the word of God, not the words of your pastor. It’s about taking every moment God has blessed you with, internalizing it, and appreciating that life is wondrous.
It’s about prayer.
It’s about giving.
It’s about miracles.
It’s about sacrifice.
It’s about praise.
It’s about eternity.
It’s about something bigger.
It’s not about a stupid red cup.
About the photo: We like Starbucks. I like the Komodo Dragon blend, clover press, black. She likes a lattee different kinds of Starbucks beverages. Also, I have to go. I think I’m under arrest from the pun police.
This post was under construction for three days. There’s no way I could know about today’s Daily Post prompt.