Tuesday, December 9, 2014


"Deep calls to deep in the roar of Your waterfalls; 
all Your breakers and Your billows have swept over me."
Psalm 42:7 

I don't know when it started really...my cynical attitude towards all things labeled "Christian".

I guess my heart has grown cold and suspicious because of the hypocrites, or maybe because I'm the hypocrite. 

I guess I gave into the idea that being "relatable" meant acting like an ass and calling people assholes. 

And now I'm a really "cool" Christian because I curse, and I drink, and I watch "edgy" movies, and I don't listen to "Christian" music, and I don't dare set foot in a "Christian" bookstore,  and I get tattoos,  and honestly I do some of these things because it's just me....and I like tattoos, and I like beer, and sometimes Christian music really isn't that great and I don't want to be fake. 

And that's what it comes down to really. 

"Authenticity" in the Church.

I hear the word and cringe. 

It's one of those modern church "buzz words" that any relatable pastor feels the need to throw into a sermon, and I shutter...because I don't think we are getting more Authentic. 

When did Authentic mean stumbling a brother or sister with the words I use?

When did Authenticity come to mean watching a movie filled with glorifying everything my Savior was crucified for? 

When did Authenticity become the liberaltiy to abuse our bodies with food, drugs, alcohol, exercise, and self mutilation? 

I don't know what got into me last night. I was scrolling through Netflix (I do this when Aaron is on the road), looking for another "independent-edgy-informative-relatable" movie to watch and for some crazy reason I chose the movie "Ragamuffin".

I know about Rich Mullins. I know he wrote "Awesome God". I know he died in a car accident. I thought I knew the story...

"I'll give it five minutes" I thought to myself, "but if it gets cheesy, I'm done." 

I watched the entire film with a rising lump in my throat. 

The message of this movie is simply this:

"Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so."

When the film was over I felt exposed...soul naked before God.  

There is a message in it that needs to be shared. 

I guess it's known as "The Ragamuffin Gospel", and I think in my running from "all things Christian" I had heard somewhere of this message, but assumed it wasn't anything different from what I already knew. 

It is different. 

There comes a point in Rich Mullins life and struggle with faith in Christ, that a friend shares a sermon with him. Like me, Rich doesn't want to hear it...he's probably heard it before...and this preacher is probably like all of the rest. Rich gives the sermon five minutes....and ends on his knees as he hears the message in its entirety...his heart awakening to the words he's been searching for all of his life: 

“When I get honest, I admit I am a bundle of paradoxes. I believe and I doubt, I hope and get discouraged, I love and I hate, I feel bad about feeling good, I feel guilty about not feeling guilty. I am trusting and suspicious. I am honest and I still play games. Aristotle said I am a rational animal; I say I am an angel with an incredible capacity for beer.
To live by grace means to acknowledge my whole life story, the light side and the dark. In admitting my shadow side I learn who I am and what God's grace means. As Thomas Merton put it, "A saint is not someone who is good but who experiences the goodness of God."
The gospel of grace nullifies our adulation of televangelists, charismatic superstars, and local church heroes. It obliterates the two-class citizenship theory operative in many American churches. For grace proclaims the awesome truth that all is gift. All that is good is ours not by right but by the sheer bounty of a gracious God. While there is much we may have earned--our degree and our salary, our home and garden, a Miller Lite and a good night's sleep--all this is possible only because we have been given so much: life itself, eyes to see and hands to touch, a mind to shape ideas, and a heart to beat with love. We have been given God in our souls and Christ in our flesh. We have the power to believe where others deny, to hope where others despair, to love where others hurt. This and so much more is sheer gift; it is not reward for our faithfulness, our generous disposition, or our heroic life of prayer. Even our fidelity is a gift, "If we but turn to God," said St. Augustine, "that itself is a gift of God." 
My deepest awareness of myself is that I am deeply loved by Jesus Christ and I have done nothing to earn it or deserve it.” 
― Brennan ManningThe Ragamuffin Gospel: Good News for the Bedraggled, Beat-Up, and Burnt Out

Jesus is authentic.

I'm not....yet. 

I'm stunned. I have no words. I'm grateful. I want to know this truth and I want to know this God. 

I plan to read this book. I plan to give it to my children. I will encourage them to watch the movie. 

But most of all I will try to believe that "Jesus loves even me"...the failing faltering, running, beer drinking, tattooed, cursing, blessing, trying, loving, hateful, faithful, faithless, Ragamuffin me.