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Religion in Bluejeans

Is our Religion "Real", or is it a farce. This is a subject that has troubled me for some time regarding the Seventh-day Adventist Church and the whole "Christian Church" for that matter! What is our attitude towards "non-Christians" (or towards those of our own fellowship, who have not yet achieved "Sainthood" and are still struggling with very real problems and sins)?

It bothers me that we are so "pious" towards others and that we seem to feel that we must put up a "front" when we dealing with non-Christians, or in all of any of our relationships. If someone is struggling with something - how often do we immediately point them to "the books", tell them to prayabout it, or just flat out tell them that they are wrong for thinking such-and-such a thing, or for being tempted by this or that. How often do we tell others, by our words and by our deeds, that "you had better get 'right' or you're going to lose your salvation!" And then we walk away -- satisfied that we have done our Christian duty in pointing them in the right direction. What a crock!

Are we presenting "Christ" to the world? Or are we just trying to "convince" others that we have " the truth" - that we know "the rules", and that you had better come around to our way of thinking or suffer the consequences? How often do we use the "carrot and the stick" approach (with an emphasis on the stick) and how often do we leave off the carrot completely?! Is this what God wants from us? Is this how we are to lead others to Christ? Is this how God intends on saving those that are lost?

I'll go out on a limb here and suggest that we have no more converted someone by convincing them that certain prophecies are true, or that "this is the way that end-time events are going to happen", or even by getting them to believe in our treasured 28 fundamental beliefs then we have converted them by saying "hello" to them on the street! Christ is real!!! And Christianity has got to be "real" too!!!

I have noticed that Christ did not go around hitting people over the head with the scriptures. Christ did not go around criticizing, accusing, or condemning people! In fact, if you look carefully, you will find that people Christ did criticize were "religious" people! Christ did not go around saying to people; "hey, come over here and look at this list of things I have - memorize these and you will be saved!" No, Christ loved people. Christ met them where they were - not where they ought to be! Christ said, "What are your struggles? I will help you if you're interested - if you will let me." Christ invited them to have a better way of life and he showed others how to do it!

Christ was a master teacher (The master teacher!) And, He is our example. Why don't we follow that example? Christ got right down in the "mud of life" with people - look at it! Christ probably didn't have more than one change of cloths (if that!) - no suits, no fine linen, just everyday peasant cloths. Christ mingled with the people -- he went to their homes, ate dinner with them, and probably played with the kids while he was there too! Christ helped them fish and earn a living. Christ wasn't afraid to be seen riding in the neighbors old Chevy (he even road in the back of those stinky old fishing boats!). And Christ didn't shy away from having a good time either - he attended marriage feasts - why he even let people throw him a party (the Triumphal Entry) where people were running around "dancing" and "singing" and having a good old time! And Christ wasn't afraid to ask someone else for help. In fact, this was one of his favorite methods for "introducing" himself and for sharing the good news that God has to offer (look at the story of the woman at the well!). Christ listened to people! Christ sympathized with people! Christ genuinely cared about people! And so should we!

We often say things like: "I'd rather see a good sermon than hear one any day", But do we live that way? Do our neighbors and friends and associates see Christ in us? Do they see and hear the joy, and the relief, and the peace, and the understanding, and the compassion, and the love in our words and actions? Do they realize that they can come to us and "talk"? Do they know that we won't spread their dirt all over town? Do they know that we won't judge or condemn them? Do they know that if they need something that they can come to us and we will help them? Do they know that we are caring people? Or do they feel that we think we are "better" than them? Are we the kind of people that they know are willing to laugh and say "bless your heart" and throw our arms around them and give them a hug, regardless of who they are or where they have been? Do they know that we can and will accept them just as they are!? If not, then maybe we had better examine our own walk with the Lord - 'cause something is not right!

Which brings me to my final thought: When we talk with other people (church members included) do we get real with them? Or do we feel that we must in some way act proper (put on a front) and only give those beautifully pat answers by quoting the Bible, Ellen White, or some other religious authority? Are we willing to share ourselves (our background, our struggles, our failures, our victories, etc.) with each other? If we are going to be of any help to anyone else, or have any hope of reaching them for Christ, then we are going to have to be able to relate to them where they are and meet them there (not where we think they should be). We need to be able to appreciate and respect and empathize with them! We need to be prepared to help them in the way that they need - not in the way that we think they need, or in the way that we might simply enjoy or be willing to help.

I have been criticized, as I know others of you have, for making even veiled references to my past life (going to bars, impure thoughts, smoking, drinking, etc.). And even for the struggles that I continue to battle. I don't believe that we should wallow in our past, or that we should make light of living the wrong way, but I don't believe that we should pretend that it doesn't exist either. Perhaps by relating something that I have gone through, someone else might be able to relate and can learn and grow, and perhaps most importantly, have hope that they too can experience the joy of victory as it is in Christ! As it really is in Christ!

Christianity is Real and it is Powerful. But it has got to be real in our own lives before we can share it with others. Being Real is what True Christianity is all about. Are you real? Are you ready to get real?

I've devoted the rest of this website to getting real in our relationship with Christ, with ourselves, and with others. This is what True Religion is all about. I pray that you may be blessed by the things that you will find on all the other pages and that these topics will help you lead a more successful, healthy, enjoyable and exciting life. It is my hope that it will help you live your religion in Bluejeans, making a real difference in the lives of others, like Christ did!

Bruce


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