How is it already October? Time for me to start plotting how to disguise myself and beg for candy from strangers while still retaining my Adult Card. Of course, my All Time Favorite Costume was 10-year-old Emma as Jonny Appleseed (a real American Hero). Now I’m 23, and not as interested in cross-dressing. Plus, I’m not as interested in the Adult-Halloween-Costume-Scene.
Last year, she dressed up as a taco for Halloween. She’s not an actual taco (and I don’t even think she likes Taco Bell very much) but she pulls off the look pretty well…whatever “the look” is, in terms of tacos.
Have you listened to any of JBieb’s new stuff? My roommate REALLY likes “What do You Mean?” Repetitive nature of his lyrics aside, she still loves the jam. I guess knowing the quality of meat that goes into my Crunchwrap doesn’t stop me from eating at TB. In a way, Justin Bieber is her Taco Bell. Or Taco Bell is my Justin Bieber. You get the idea.
No one is saying Justin is perfect—there was that whole Florida thing, and the peeing in a bucket thing, and the time he used the word “Chinchilla” in one of his songs. But who among us has not done regrettable things in Florida, really needed a bathroom, or made an unfortunate rhyme? Justin has had some rough times lately, but I once spent a whole year of college wearing a red and white trucker hat…so I’m willing to extend a bit of grace to him now that he’s vocalizing his change of heart.
Unfortunately, Justin’s positive perspective is a bit misguided, his recent Complex interview had me very confused. In it, he discusses his faith in Christianity—but he also discusses his lack of love for Christ’s church:
I think that people, as soon as they start hearing me saying I’m a Christian, they’re like, “Whoa Justin, back up, take a step back.” Also, I do not want to shove this down anyone’s throat. I just wanna honestly live like Jesus. Not be Jesus—I could never—I don’t want that to come across weird. He created a pretty awesome template of how to love people and how to be gracious and kind. If you believe it, he died for our sins. Sometimes when I don’t feel like doing something, but I know it’s right, I remember, I’m pretty sure Jesus didn’t feel like going to the cross and dying so that we don’t have to feel what we should have to feel.
Like I said before, Christians leave such a bad taste in people’s mouths, even myself. I was like, I’m not gonna go to church. I had these church friends and I was like, you guys are cool, I like you guys, but I’m not going to church. Then it was the same thing of, just because you went to a weird church before doesn’t mean that this is weird. It doesn’t make you a Christian just by going to church. I think that going to church is fellowship, it’s relationship, it’s what we’re here on the earth to do, to have this connection that you feel there’s no insecurities. I think that’s where we need to be. Like I said, you don’t need to go to church to be a Christian. If you go to Taco Bell, that doesn’t make you a taco.
What do You Mean?
Of course going to Taco Bell doesn’t make you a taco! Going to Taco Bell makes you a taco eater. And being a part of a church makes you a Christ eater. Yes, I know that sounds really weird. It sounded weird when Jesus said it, too:
He said, “I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”
But the Jews said, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?”
Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them. Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your ancestors ate manna and died, but whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.”
There are a lot of things that JB is still working through right now, but I’m hopeful that his faith will mature, along with his hairstyle. I’m hopeful that he’ll come to see that we aren’t called to go to church, we’re called to be the church. I hopeful that he’ll realize that the early church members were persecuted and slandered as cannibals. Maybe he’ll realize that in order to love Jesus, you also have to love his church. Maybe he’ll realize that fellowship and relationship need to start at the table set by our Lord, partaking in the body and blood of Christ with fellow believers. Sometimes he may not feel like struggling through relationships with broken Christians, but he’ll know it’s right. He’ll know that wearing a taco suit doesn’t mean you worship Taco Bell, and wearing the name of “Christian” doesn’t mean you worship Christ.
I totally get it. Committing to a church can seem illogical, impractical, uncomfortable, and unpleasant. Christians can be hurtful—I’ve been hurt. I’ve hurt others. Churches can be overwhelming. Especially when you don’t know exactly what you believe, or you don’t know how to get where you want to be. They can be clique-y and superficial and liturgical and all that jazz.
But remember, what Justin said: “I’m pretty sure Jesus didn’t feel like going to the cross and dying so that we don’t have to feel what we should have to feel.” Jesus chose the sacrificial, illogical path of communion with broken people. Jesus said “Your will be done,” and he spent the hardest years of his life on earth surrounded by fishermen fighting for importance and one man who would betray him.
So whether you’re an “Unchurched Christian,” or you’re a Sunday-goer with a “leave me alone I just want to sit here in my pew” mentality, think about it: What do You Mean when you say you’re a Christian? I’m tired of people claiming to follow Christ, but openly discounting the importance of participation with his people. If you’re trying to be like Christ, you should try to love his church. He loved it so much that he died for it.
Okay. Rant over. And in case you were wondering…