Sunday, March 13, 2005

Come Naked.

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,
Rags

8 comments:

Heather Diane Tipton said...

Wow

Aola said...

Beautiful.

It was so liberating for me to come to that place of being able to admit how imperfect I am and how much I need Jesus.

Katy said...

Rags, you do good work. Thanks for posting this. So, so true.

osray said...

Rags to riches....(that's got a real good ring to it) I love this post and I'm glad Blogger is letting me comment...... This hits home.... But I like it after the cross and through the veil to the part where we are risen with Him and seated in Him... as He is in this world so are we... That shine on your face is Him showing Himself.

Larry said...

It takes a lot of time for people to bare themselves to God. This is an area where people could really use examples... and where are they?

In churches, you see lots of smiling people.

I went to Mosaic yesterday. It's a church more open to experiment than many, but there's still a "beautiful people" aspect to it. Mosaic is cool and hip.

The day's topic was "Barbarian Leaders." Of course, barbarians are acceptable when they don't stretch the system very far.

There's a great need for just what you're talking about here. People showing the way, how to be honest with God. God is far more accepting of honesty than people. I've never been criticized by God for a question, but I've certainly gotten in trouble with people!

Geo said...

you know this search in blogland for "authentic faith" is something that is truly a sad thing! Because if a believer in Jesus is searching for it then they must not have been told that there is only one faith and it is not of ourselves it is of Jesus the Christ. We must all come to the end of "our faith" in order to embrace His "authentic faith". As long as we continue to think that we can have our own faith and not that of Jesus we will continue to float aimlessly as blind men and women in a sea of searching.

Peace

Dee said...

You write so beautiful and this topic is so caustic for some. I think about the Wisconsin shooting and the shooter's discontent with his life and what he was learning at that church. I think about what happened here in Atlanta last weekend and the events that led to Brian Nichols killer. I think about the BTK Killer and how his church family is dealing with his true identity. Christianity in America in some places have become the hip, cool thing to do, which is good in a way. But damaging in the way that leads people away from why they're supposed to be there. To learn and experience Christ. Great message. It would be nice to have a statewide moment of prayer before Easter. To let the Lord know we hear him and to help us move forward. Great incite.

Candy said...

It's only been in the last 5 years that I have begun the undressing. I'm down to my underwear now. Becoming authentic is a long, slow journey fraught with fear and peril. But it is rewarding in unseen ways, or maybe they're seen thru new eyes. Thanks, Claudia, for exposing us once again to Jesus.