Plagiarized Christianity

Plagiarized Christianity.

I think a lot of us are guilty of this crime. we live this, breathe this…and we allow one another to  do this all the time.

In school, if you misquoted an author or didn’t give recognition when taking from them via end notes, footnotes or whatever, you lost. You failed. Blacklisted. Game over.

Yet, I wonder if many of us Christians don’t have our OWN relationships with Jesus. Instead, we have someone else’s…we have a blend of stuff. We copy what works with someone else and adapt to us. Instead of spending the time learning, we use the word ‘mentoring’ to Cole’s Notes or Cliff’s Notes our way to God’s heart, his will, etc. My friend on her twitter summed it up nicely…

…I think this happens a lot. I know I’ve plagiarized like this before. Nothing like the source, but I often compromise. *sigh*…

This isn’t a judgement call on her (I know her well and wouldn’t question her OWN devotion for a second) but her 140 characters sums up a lot of us…us being the Church.

Could it be that we’d be in for a surprise when we’re told, ‘I never knew you’ because we genuinely never did? Instead, we knew Jesus as a friend through a friends?

What scares me about this idea is that as I’ve copied, someone else might be copying me. Not just FOLLOWING me, but copying me…and you (if this is what you  have chosen to believe…)

Maybe our culture, even in the church lives for cutting corners instead of hard work…and the best relationships take work.

Maybe we’ve elevated Christian leaders and pastors as our ‘Jesuses’ and read about them as opposed to Jesus (And, we DO do this. We are suckers for celebrities).

Maybe we work harder at building leaders than people who know, love and follow Jesus.

Maybe this is another reason why so many people, especially 18 to 25s, leave their faith and the church.

Because it may never have theirs to begin with.

And when there’s no attachment...

Agree? Disagree? Am I being too harsh? Narrow minded? How do we balance this? If you’re a Christian leader or pastor, how do you teach ‘Follow me AS I…’ as opposed to ‘Follow me LIKE I…’

Let’s talk!

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6 thoughts on “Plagiarized Christianity

  1. I agree. I had this problem a few years back. Realized I wasn’t dependent on God for my Christian walk but my friends. How to lead away from this? This post is a good start. For me it took a lot of quiet time with God. Learning about meditation and how to meditate. I’d say being in such a busy program at school and not being able to go to Church has also helped. No one to depend on or look to or follow for spiritual growth. Just my own initiative. It’s hard and I’m lacking for sure. But I’m learning.

  2. Here are my initial thoughts (reactive thoughts, if you will):

    I like the blog.

    Copying. It’s something we all do. It’s how we learn. Many times, it’s our starting point.

    However, if I understood you correctly, you’re addressing a sad reality that many religious people will find themselves in when they come before God’s judgment seat. They’ll come before God expecting His approval for their “Christian” works, performance, and appearance, yet be told to get lost ’cause they never loved (or knew) Jesus to begin with. They “copied” what it looks like to talk “Christian” and act “Christian” without actually being Christian (Christ-followers*). Interesting how Jesus calls this evil. Religiousity motivated by self-love and self-worship. Or, good works prompted by evil intent. (ex.: Pharisees – the very group Jesus was calling out when he said this).

    So copying, meaning “pretending” to be something you’re not, is not good.

    But copying, meaning “imitating” to learn what it looks like to BE godly and do good things, is good. Love, devotion, trust, and obedience to Jesus is learned biblically through instruction (information) and communally through interaction (application). The Apostle Paul would often encourage other believers to imitate him as he imitated Christ. In other words, copy me in my efforts to live my one, brief life (as imperfect as it may be) for God’s glory. Copy me and be worthy of copying. Make sense?

    I guess I’ll leave it at that. My initial thoughts. Thanks for sharing, Chase.

    *Christ-follower, meaning a person who has put his/her faith in the person and work of Jesus, and out of gratitude, responds appropriately by living his/her full life for the glory of God and the good of others.

  3. I think your post is a start. I agree with my brother Carlos imitating is where we do start but then there is discovery and understanding (not that we will truly understand). After watching my daughter imitate me and then arriving at that time in life where she wants to discover things on her own and find her purpose and place in this world and in Jesus but I wonder if we are all too quick to keep them from falling and stumbling. Sometimes I am so quick to tell her she is doing it wrong and want to correct her. It can hurt her and finally she never gets that chance to discover on her own through all the mistakes and all. I think as Pastors we have to be careful not to be so quick to keep them as copies but to let them discover on their own even if it looks a little messy for a while. Many times are reliance and relationship with Jesus starts when we discover Him for ourselves.

    Lord teach me where to go from here.

    Thanks Chris for sharing. I like real.

    Laura

  4. Reading your post, I found myself agreeing and disagreeing at the same time. I fully agree that most of us in the church (especially if we ‘grew up’ in it) take many rituals and traditions for granted and rest on the laurels of other spiritual giants who we look up to and learn aka Christian celebrities. And for us who resemble some kind of ‘Christian celebrity’, our stumbling block is that we rely on our status and acclaim and not our heart-wrenching, soul breaking, knee time with God Himself. I am guilty of falling into the fake Christian trap myself.

    My friend is a leader for her high school ministry and has recently made it a goal to personally share the gospel with her teens individually. It’s surprising how many of them who grew up in the church have NO IDEA what the gospel is BUT it’s also surprising how such an easy thing as sharing the gospel in the church has brought transformation to those lives. She has seen her youth love and live for God and SHARE that joy with family and friends in just a few weeks! A pastor once said that the Great Commission is for the Christian what the gospel is for non-Christians. Perhaps! But perhaps, the gospel is STILL the gospel even preached to Christians in the church!

    Yet, I feel like there is something on the other side of those who ‘leave’ the church happening. A quiet revolution of sorts. In some ways, I feel like I left the church a while back and i know many of my friends in the same situation. We were finding actions, words and church programs empty without a true and vibrant relationship with God behind them. And we leave (not just physically but emotionally and spiritually, we detach themselves from the church). For those in the church, we seem like black sheep gone astray and who left God. But being ‘on the other side’, I’d say we didn’t leave God but went in search for Him. We just left the organization and the trappings of religion. Personally, I grew up in the church and went through it all. My mother and even my grandparents were in ministry. But I can honestly say it didn’t click until I went to university and pieced together the gospel. Not at church but in a campus ministry. And now I see where the ‘lost sheep’ have gathered – in the para-church like campus ministries, missions organizations, social justice movements and the like. People who felt hungry for God in the church and found Him outside of buildings, on the streets, in houses, at the library, in broken communities, at the workplace… Christianity can no longer lived on Sundays at the pew but we’re seeing how it has to be all day, every day and in front of everyone. But many of us in discovering a true Jesus also see the importance of going back to the church. The question is, how do we go back?

    • I love what you wrote Camille. I think we as a generation need to readjust our view on church from an institution to a community. It’s easier to leave an institution (job, school, youth group, etc.) than to leave a community (group of friends, team, family, etc.). I don’t know if you can search for God or connect a part from his family, in that they help you figure things out. It’s a tight rope between leaning on them for support while not lingering on them to give you the answers.

      Kinda like a study group…you study together but write the exam yourself.

      But you are right about the perception of those who leave. They are blacklisted. That when it’s the communities role to say, let’s learn together. It’s sad when the community hasn’t done its job as it was intended so, giving the opening for our generation to find that belonging elsewhere (but i’d rather it be a para-church organism than not serving Christ at all).

      Thanks Camille for adding balance to this posting!

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