Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Drink the Christian Kool-Aid. It will make you happy, FOREVER!

"I loathe my life; I will give free utterance to my complaint; I will speak in the bitterness of my soul."  - Job 10:1

My friend was at his office desk with his head down, face covered with his hands, trying to just find a little space in his tiring day to work through his feelings. He was soon interrupted by a coworker who asked how he was doing. He told her that he wasn't doing good, and that life can be hard.

Rather than listening she went into commiseration mode, pouring out all of her difficulties with life, while my friend was thinking, "This is ugly, but I really don't want to hear all about her miserable life."

Then, since she was on a roll, she did what we Christians often do, she reached deep (or not very deep) into her bag of spiritual tricks and produced this gem, "Don't let Satan steal your joy."

When my friend related this to me over the phone, I was reminded of the movie "Office Space", when the main character is asked by a miss-was-a-cheerleader-20-years-ago-so-now-must-always-be-happy-office-lady-no-matter-how-much-pain-life-dishes-out (aka "Miss Chirpy-Pants". You know the one I'm talking about) if he was having a case of the "Mundays?"

In the movie, he later relates this to a friend who works construction, asking if this sort of thing ever goes on outside of offices.  I love his friend's response, "No...  Hell no man, I reckon someone's ass would could get kicked for saying something like that.  Why?  Did someone say that to you!?"

Why do we Christians sometimes abuse each other with pithy sayings?  Why do we sometimes wake up and think we have to put on happy make-up, make-up that we apply because we MUST NEVER ADMIT sadness, depression, confusion, defeat or hurt?

Frankly, this make-up is absolutely unbiblical.  If the Bible shows us anything about it's weird and diverse characters it's that they had a host of real and very raw emotions that they took to God, or flung at God, all the time.  Now I'm not saying that they didn't experience joy, but it wasn't this pasted on stuff we so often see today.

To look at it from another angle, I had a friend get on me recently for being spiritually timid.  "Don't you know that the Christian life is about victory over sin?  Claim your victory," my friend said.

No, I refuse to claim it.  To simply claim victory over sin is to refuse to deal with it's deep reality and deep problem.  The Christian life is about relating to Jesus as all of our emotions from deep despair and discouragement to deep joy and happiness.

As Job illustrates with his broken life and words above, we Christians have got to move from living in fearful happiness (yes, I believe it's fearful) or "peppy Christianity" to the LIFE God offers.  My guess is when we do that, we'll quit turning people off to Christianity as well.

Sorry about ranting, but I feel like ranting, and that's OK.  Some may call me the unhappy, defeated, and angry Christian, I'd be OK with that.  My guess is that most of you would be too.

But whatever you do today, be sure not to let Satan steal your joy.


Mike said...

100% correct, Philip. Jesus was a man of sorrows. The Psalms are filled with laments. We are not called to be inright, outright, upright, downright happy all the time. Instead we are called to "fill up in [our] flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ's afflictions" (Colossians 1:24). Thanks for ranting.

Philip said...

Thanks for the vote of confidence Mike! Also thanks for the comment! I like "inright, outright, upright and downright happy all the time." I would add uptight as well :). It's hard always being happy.