I must admit, I tend to be somewhat cynical at times.
I get tired of the constant array of self-promotion and self-assured confidence in THE answer.
I know what’s wrong with the American Church ~ We need to be more missional.
You would experience more of Jesus if you wear more contemplative.
There would be more students in your youth ministry if you didn’t do such big program events.
Don’t be a consumer Christian; live a radical life for Him.
I’ve got the NEXT big thing in Christianity – you MUST read this book/blog/article.
Listen, I’m as guilty as the next guy or gal.
But it’s exhausting, isn’t it?
I’ve read a few interesting blogs that have further confirmed and stimulated my thinking in this regard (more on that in a second).
There are two reasons I believe THE ANSWER can be so exhausting:
1. Too Much Reading
I’m an avid reader. Last year, in 2010, I read 113 books. 113! I mean, even though I generally take notes, type them up into a 2 page summary, I still can’t possibly process and remember everything I read.
Plus, the biggest issue starts to become that I listen more prominently to everyone else’s solutions. Don’t get me wrong: Leaders are readers, and reading is one of the primary ways we grow as people, Christians, and leaders. But, there comes a time, at least for me, when I just get tired of reading everyone else’s opinions. Furthermore, it’s even more frustrating when these opinions differ and make equally strong cases!
For more on some of this thinking, check out this blog by Aaron Armstrong. I think he brings up a great point in regards to reading or absorbing.
In the end, I’m learning to balance reading other people’s opinions and simply spending time thinking, reading, praying, and meditating on truths that God is presenting to me directly.
2. Too Sure Of The Answer
People sell books and ideas through confidence. It rarely works (although sometimes does) to present an idea like: “Well, this is maybe true, but here’s what I think.” Rather, twitter and facebook abound with promotion such as: “This is the MUST READ book of the year. It will change your life.” Or “Today, come to church because we are presenting THE ANSWER to those questions you don’t have answers to.”
This isn’t how I read the bible or understand faith. There doesn’t appear to be very much black and white. I can be sure about Jesus, and how we wants me to model my life after him, and where the assurance of my salvation comes from, but that’s honestly about it.
I loved this blog post by Skye Jethani.
In the post, he is essentially saying the answer to Consumer Christianity isn’t to live a Radical life (which is a really popular concept in today’s Christian media). What I loved about this post is that the ANSWER isn’t always the ANSWER.
Does that make sense?
In the end, the two ways to break out of this exhausting cycle of “Everyone Has The Answer” is to spend less time reading (if you’re reading too much), more time listening to what God is telling you in the bible, through prayer, and in the context of community, and not being an over-promoter of THE ANSWER.
At least, this is my opinion. I really can’t be sure of this answer…