29 November 2018

Are Christians a Bunch of Posers?

Mr Holdsworth brilliantly answers the accusation that Christians are LARPing.

A loose transcript:

Christians are often accused of being fake: acting holier and more pious then they actually are. Sometimes you’ll witness a friend or family member have a conversion experience to Christianity as though a switch was flipped and, as if overnight, they start acting in a way that isn’t synonymous with the person you know them to be. So the authenticity of the whole thing is drawn into question. I got the impression that people thought this of me when I became a Christian. Then there’s the familiar cliché that people offer for why they don’t go to Church. All the people there are judgmental hypocrites, they’ll say. The fact that they supposedly despise judgmental traits in others while simultaneously judging people for being hypocrites aside, maybe they have a point. The reality is, most, if not all Christians are hypocrites, myself among them. We’re pretenders. We’re acting as though we are better than we actually are. But we’re not the only ones who do this. In fact, anyone who wants to get better at anything, is guilty of this same thing. When I was about 12 years old, I started teaching myself to play the guitar. I would spend hours watching concert videos of my favourite bands to try to pick up what they were doing and when the inspiration became too much, I’d run up to my room, strap on my guitar and try to mimic what I saw them doing. I would close my eyes and imagine their persona washing over me as I became a guitarist. What actually happened was some pretty awful guitar playing but that didn’t matter to me. I was experiencing what it was like to become more like them. I was pretending to be them and in so doing, I was slowly becoming more like them. Growing in any kind of discipline follows a similar pattern. When you practice the thing you want to get better at, you’re attempting to do it as well as you can. You’re reaching for that excellence that you want to absorb and become but in reality, you’re not nearly as good as you’re attempting to be. If we remain consistent in that practice, we will eventually find ourselves actually becoming the thing we’ve been pretending and attempting to be all along. This is what it’s like to be a Christian. We are looking to the one who is the perfect human – Jesus. Someone who is wise, moral, faithful, witty, courageous, humble, and we’re trying to be like him by acting like him. As we do so, we strain the limits of our own self discipline and the cracks show pretty quick. We stumble along the way and fail to hit the mark. People looking in from the outside see this as being fake and it’s true. We’re trying to be something that we’re not… at least not yet, but the hope is that, as we continue to stretch ourselves in that direction, one day we will become like Jesus and all the things that we admire in him. This reveals what I think is a very important principle for us all to be aware of. The more you behave in a certain way and the more you surround yourself with certain people and things, the more you will become those things.
The more I played my guitar, the more I became an actual guitarist. The repetition of that behaviour transformed me from someone who wasn’t a guitarist into someone who was. So what are the things you are training yourself to be? Are they good things or are they bad things? Are you over drinking consistently while telling yourself that you’ll never become an alcoholic? Are you allowing yourself to consistently lose your temper while telling yourself that you’re actually a kind and patient person? If so, one day you will turn around and wonder how you became an addict or a notoriously abusive person as everyone who finds themselves in those shoes does. So give the Christians in your life a break. Stop judging them for trying to be something that they’re not. It’s a noble pursuit and it’s the only way to become better at anything. And if you’ve been turned off by Christianity because of what you perceived as a lack of authenticity, then I hope this understanding will help you release some of your bad feelings towards it. Jesus is someone that most of us can admire. For Christians, it’s just not enough to admire him from a far. We want to be more like him and share in the life that he offers.

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