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An Open Letter to Christians: Breathe

previously published in March 2006

Oh, the “conversion experience!” Do you remember how it first felt? Do you remember that lightness in your step? That extra bounce in your walk? And that feeling of complete freedom as if your entire chest cavity had been emptied and you could simply float to the moon? Maybe you don’t have that memory to recall in the first place; maybe it was more gradual for you. Maybe you still wrestle with it every day. Perhaps you’ve never had that one breakthrough moment, but regardless of how you got there; be it centuries or seconds, God is real to you isn’t He? I hope so.

If God is real, His Word is true, for God cannot lie. In His Word is a promise for a rich, fulfilling life: a life of peace and contentment that is only found through selflessness, service and a healthy conscience. Maybe we’ve forgotten this.

Our society of cynicism makes it fashionably acceptable to be jaded and negative, but I refuse to let it go unquestioned. We all follow a path don’t we? Two decades of formal education, followed by a lifetime of professional routine, producing a child to repeat the same process and then death. Am I jaded or what?

Sometimes I wish I was a child of the 60’s. Call them hippies, boomers or bohemian freaks, either way they seemed to elicit a genuine excitement out of life. This generation never really grew up. Their existence was never dictated by a need for status, wealth or power. Peace, love and happiness right? Take out the drug scene and it sounds quite Christian doesn’t it?

I don’t understand our emerging culture of unhappy, bitter Christians. Perhaps I don’t understand it because I made a vow to avoid it at all cost, but as I get older I feel it creeping in – this sense of dissatisfaction with life so mundane, typical and routine. Maybe you get a kick out of the mundane and if that’s works for you, great. But what about the rest of us? I feel like we set a dangerous precedent when we simply accept the fact that some people are just naturally sour about life, because that is simply untrue. We don’t start life so world-weary.

Insert poignant anecdote about learning the “facts of life” here __________________. You know you have one.

Why do such bouncing, playful children devolve into grumpy, bored adults? Remember the fun we had: rounding up the neighborhood kids, organizing games, seeking out adventures, just being kids. Why do we let that spirit die- that unassuming openness to the new kid, the camaraderie and accomplishment of teamwork and that creativity that transforms an ordinary day into something extraordinary?

Jesus says quite clearly that we have a lot to learn from our childhood days. You don’t need me to quote the verses (Matt. 18:3, 19:4, Mark 9:37, 10:14, Lk 18:16). The heart of a child is much more valuable than any degree of wealth or education. How much longer until we teach our jaded selves to be more like our 5 year-old selves? Maybe you disagree. You probably think a church full of adolescents would lack the depth and wisdom to exegete the book of Hebrews. A church full of child-like members could never come up with the correct business plan to execute an evangelistic series. You’re probably right. But the greatest thing about children is that they have nowhere to look but up. And a church full of people who emulate the heart of a child will always have something to live up to, a Savior to look up to, and a sense of growing onward and upward.

Here is my bottom line: a cynical Christian is as oxymoronic as a jaded pre-schooler. A sinner’s redemptive journey is cause for an absolute reversal of typical, tired, cynicism towards life and the beginning of something much greater than we know. Let’s stop with the “woe is me” card – eternal life has already been paid for and guaranteed. The very definition of life changes because of the Cross.

Let’s start another counter culture: bring back that peace, love and happiness. And as those wild Hippies say: “Breathe. In with the good, out with the bad. Breathe.”

The views expressed in this column do not necessarily reflect the opinions and beliefs of this magazine or its publisher. Do you have something to get off of your chest in 850 words or less? We welcome submissions. Reach the editor at: contact@englishcompass.org

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