There's a lot of talk around the blogsphere about "authentic" faith. It's as if being real and honest are rare jewels that have to be mined carefully and painfully. Maybe they are rare, and even difficult to access, but that is so sad.
If anything at all you'd think the Christian life would be real. It's clear from the gospels that Jesus despised hypocrisy. Imagine if the religious leaders He criticized so harshly actually came to Him with some honesty, like:
"We suck, and wouldn't know the Messiah if He were standing right in front of us." Or "Have mercy on us, you seem to have it together a lot more than we do." They would have been blessed instead of rebuked. They would have gotten a revelation of the Truth that stood before them in the person of Jesus Christ.
I remember when I hid behind the thin veneer of my own mask. The mouth on it was fashioned into a permanent smile. That mouth couldn't ask hard questions--questions that I still don't have answers for. It wasn't warm, round, fleshy and flawed like my own face. It was perfect and elegant, and cold. I like my own face better, even though it crumbles awash in tears at times.
Masks don't really help, no matter how religious they are. They don't stop you from hurting and bleeding, and they muffle the sound of your screams. There's no value in dishonesty with God. First, He already knows about what you're so valiantly trying to hide, and He loves you. Living a lie only separates you from perfect love--and that's what His love is. It has to be perfect to be able to love us. We are so terribly broken.
Let's just get real, and watch the magnificent things God does.
I keep thinking about a quote I read in Len Sweet's book "Soul Salsa":
"How can we defend our poor privacy while the Lord of Glory is exposed naked on the cross for all the world to see?"
Maria Teresa Porcile
Jesus is always the first example. The perfect picture. Can you imagine his torn flesh, hanging on a criminal's cross? There isn't anything more open than that. He showed us all of himself, so that we can reveal our darkest inclinations to Him, and to each other.
Let us come naked before him, gazing on the cross whenever we are tempted to hide what is real behind a lie that makes an idol of our religious ideal self.
At the foot of that cross,