Today’s guest post is from the truth-speaking, always honest, Jesus-loving Ken Hagerman. Ken’s blog is called Rambling with the Barba and I highly recommend it. Hope you enjoy.
I’ve noticed something a little odd lately. I was reading a book and one of the characters was described as a good moral Christian. I was listening to an audio presentation and the guest was introduced as a salt-of-the-Earth type. “She’s a good Christian, moral person” they said. The pairing of the words moral and Christian is popping up a lot. Maybe I’m just naïve. I know I’m a big ole dumb southern male and all, but I thought that morality and Christianity kinda went together. Like, I follow Jesus and therefore I am moral.
When did we cross over into territory where we needed to qualify Christians as moral? Did it happen to coincide with the push for authenticity?
“No sirree, these aren’t your run of the mill Jesus Freaks– They’re moral, too.”
I’m not using this opportunity as a call for legalism. It’s a call for the saturation of the spirit of our name sake, Jesus.
We have tried the checklist theology and failed. You know the one with the giant directory of all things sinful with a “DO NOT” in front of it. Yeah, that one. With the corresponding registry of good things–some would say moral–to “DO” on the other side.
Modifying our behavior didn’t make us any more like Christ on the inside. On the outside our check box fever alienated the non-Christians in our lives. Knowing we needed to “make disciples of all men” we looked at the checklist theology as the culprit and tossed it aside. What came next was a paradox of grace-fueled Jesus-ness…
The abolition of the list effectively relieved us of our duty to morality. Shortly two camps emerged. Many Christ followers finally found the true Savior who had been buried under the weight of modified conduct. Now their soul was changed and as a result so were their actions. Seeing the change in these folks the non-Christian world began to see Jesus’ hands and heart in action.
On the flip side, others, who had relied on the structure of the paper model (i.e. checklist) to establish their identity as a Christian found it easy to evangelize. By removing the lines altogether they were incredibly easy to blur. Christianity, to many of these people, became a marketplace. A place where inclusion is the ticket and a cheapening of Christ is the purchase price.
This is a place where the sale of merchandise and ideas holds tremendous value. It’s a place to create a platform, a forum. It’s the place where Emperors wear their invisible clothes and then fill their empires with people too blinded by the ease of entry to see them in their skivvies. Seeing this other group of Christians, non-Christians began to see new Christianity’s low price of admission and consequently were taken advantage of. They were made numbers on a roll and assigned to a small group.
Each week their spiritual sharp edges are dulled by the drone of Pseudo-Christian self-help morality. It’s the checklist again, but in a different and MUCH less stringent form. In the end the question is; Are you a moral Christian or amoral Christian?
Do you think Jesus was moral? Moral: ethical, right, just, honest, good, proper, honorable, decent. Those are the synonyms offered for moral. Why do you think it has become necessary to declare Christians moral, as well?
Formerly a youth pastor, Ken is now a full-time missionary in Paraguay, along side of his wife, whom he calls his “rockin hot babe.” He has two Jesus-loving daughters, as well. “Barba” is not his real name, obviously. It means “beard” in Spanish, because well, he has an awesome one.