Are you burying people – insiders and outsiders – under the weight of a self-righteous life?  UnChristian, pg 60 

UnChristian.  My newest read.  I bought this out of curiousity – I have heard some about the Barna Group, and this book piqued my interest.  It’s good.  Not in the you want-to-throw-it-at-the-wall good, but the Wow, I never thought of things that way before good.  I am appreciating Kinnaman’s heart, approach, and thus far, solutions. 

But, the first 60 pages ties in with something I have been thinking on a lot lately – the hypocrisy that we as Christians seem to suffer.  Kinnaman defines it a little different than I have in the past, and so I am finding myself re-working alot of thoughts about myself.

I am in an indepth study, which focuses on Matthew 7:5 “You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.”  The analogy given in our study was this – when you have a woman who is grumbling about her husband all the time, and only seeing the bad in him; before you are ready to help her, you need to stop, and make sure this is something you have dealt with in your own life.  I am wondering though, does the speck and the log have to come from the same tree?  I do not struggle with alcoholism, does that make me qualified to judge my friend who is?  Even though I may be struggling with something else (such as addiction, anger, stealing)?  I think we, as Christians, come across as so harsh, and unaccepting, because of how qualified we think we are to judge people in areas of struggle we can not possibly identify with.  All logs are not created equal.  Maybe the oak speck should not be judged by the maple log.  Maybe the pine tree is jammed up in your eye, and is blinding your understanding of the apple seed…. And maybe, just maybe “He who is without sin should cast the first stone.” 

I am more than a little nervous here… the whole “all you need is love” gospel freaks me out…. I see it as a doctrine-less, mindless fluff gospel that the hippies did a better job of forty years ago.  I worry that I will love people to hell with a gospel that says “you are fine just the way you  are”.  I fear a lack of morals, and a compromise in my attitude that does not gel with my core beliefs…. and yet – I look at Jesus, who stands at the well, and says “go and sin no more”.  Who protects the woman about to be stoned.  Who weeps over Jerusalem.  Who ate with sinners.  Who seeks to be alone upon the news of John’s death  – but heals the masses with compassion instead.  The shepherd who chases the lost sheep.  He loved.  He loves.  I am finding myself more and more eager to be defined similarily – but wonder what that looks like?

Kinnaman points out that “Our culture considers having a good image to be one of the highest goals in life.”  pg 43  Among those listed as born-again Christians, the priority of being good, and doing the right thing, ranked higher than any other – including learning about Jesus and the Bible.  4 out of 5 of those who attend church in a typical month describe Christianity as “trying hard to do God’s commands.”  But, as Kinnaman says, “Our passion for Jesus should result in God-honoring, moral life-styles, not the other way around.”  pg 51

Yet we are going about it backwards.  We are trying to appear as though we have it all together, because that is what is most important in our society and churches these days.  Our version of being good has changed substantially over the years, but the concept is the same – and those outside the faith look in,  and think us hypocritical based on our own standards….  Mixed up standards as they are.

I am not sure where this book ultimately goes.  I hope it leads towards a call to repentence!  A true love for God, in all of His God-ness, a self-abased understanding of us in our frailty, and a transparency that says “by grace through faith” are where we need to go as a church. 



9 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. jonathanbrink
    Oct 30, 2007 @ 12:37:33

    Verity, nice honesty. At the end of the day do you want your life to be defined by morals or love?


  2. Verity
    Oct 30, 2007 @ 13:37:15

    I want my day, and my life, to be defined by glorifying God in everything I do. I want to speak the truth in love.
    I think morals vs love is an unfair dichotomy…. Life needs to somehow be a balance of the two… I think love is sometimes tough love – you know that, you’re a Dad, so perhaps our definition of love needs to be clarified. What is your definition?


  3. susan
    Oct 30, 2007 @ 20:09:56

    Hey dear.

    i haven’t been here for a while… and had lots of catching up to do. excellent posts. i am forever inspired and encouraged to have you learning and growing and sharing with us all so we can learn and grow with you!!!!! 🙂

    see ya tomorrow!


  4. susan
    Oct 30, 2007 @ 20:10:34

    oh wow. it leaves a REAL happy face. this is awesome!!!!

    🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂


  5. Verity
    Oct 31, 2007 @ 07:39:39

    That’s why I abandoned my blogger.com account – for the happy faces : )


  6. Raquel
    Oct 31, 2007 @ 12:44:37

    VERY well put. I like your blog already 😉

    I love the quote, “Our passion for Jesus should result in God-honoring, moral life-styles, not the other way around.” because THIS is the ticket! The thing that the elders, chief priests, teachers of the law, etc. TOTALLY missed in Jesus’ day was the most valuable component of loving God and desiring to serve Him out of that love.

    I’m excited to read more!


  7. jonathanbrink
    Oct 31, 2007 @ 13:20:29

    I would suggest that only love fulfills morals. Morals do not fulfill love.

    Love is any action that holds or restores the dignity of someone towards wholeness.


  8. Verity
    Nov 01, 2007 @ 08:14:02

    Raquel – I added your blog to my blogroll! I love finding sisters with a heart such as yours!

    Jonathan – interesting definition of love – I am not really sure what it means : ) Does wholeness always point to Christ? Can you lovingly restore someone on this earth, but unlovingly not try to meet their eternal needs?


  9. Raquel
    Nov 01, 2007 @ 11:20:57

    I am honored and blushing a little bit. Thanks!


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