Christianity is not a “religion” in the sense that we define the word today.
It is not a set of rules/restrictions that we place upon ourselves and others.
It is not an addition to our lives that helps us be nicer people.
It is not something we turn to in tough times to help us through.
It is not a nice standard by which society can run and crime can be reduced. Although, probably more correct is that society sees Christianity and it’s ideas today as wrong and intolerant and bigotted.
Christianity is life, or rather the way to life – life to its fullest and deepest sense.
Christianity is freedom in its truest sense. And along with freedom, authenticity. For Christianity does not impose itself as a set of holy or moral laws upon a sinful and broken human being whose nature is forever in conflict and opposition to it’s standard. Christianity changes the human being at the deepest level, so rules and regulations need not apply. And so we are left with a nature that follows the rules and regulations because it desires to and not because it is told to. And that is freedom in the truest and deepest sense.
Human beings do a great deal of pretending, and it is said that the greatest pretenders are in the church. This is not a function of true Christianity, but rather the broken nature of human beings who gather for church. It is the pride within us that wants to present ourselves to others as someone that is great and someone who has it all together
Authenticity and the liberty to be oneself in it’s reality (in all it’s messiness and brokenness and sinfulness) is intimately linked with the concept of freedom.
To be authentic takes honesty with oneself and a measure of humility. Christianity provides those means for humility – for when you are faced with an infinitely holy and supreme God, our messiness and brokenness is starkly illuminated.
In this illumination of what and who we are in our brokenness, the playing field of humanity is levelled. What we have over another person in our good works is utterly pathetic seen in the right light. We like to build ourselves mounds of dirt to see how high we can build them and then compare our mounds with other peoples mounds, while we stand at the base of the ‘Everest’ of God’s rightness and goodness.
And in that right assessment of the situation – there is the freedom to be authentic. To be authentic to God and to others, but ultimately to be authentic to ourselves. For no one is good enough, nor do we have to be. For while Christianity gives us sight of our true condition, it does not leave us there. The coal from the throne is taken and placed upon our lips. And Christ does for us what we could not, and cannot ever do – he makes us beautiful and pure and holy just as he is.
And in the heart of someone who is truly free and authentic, there flows forth rivers of joy and peace. Oh what a beautiful thing this ‘religion’ is!
And there is and shall be a generation who shall rise from the ashes of brokenness and sinfulness. They shall be clothed in white robes and they shall exhibit a depth of freedom and authenticity, joy and peace the world has rarely seen.