Tuesday, October 5, 2010

It's not what you need to do...

I have been spurned on to contemplating how much of American Christianity becomes focused on what we have to do - whether it is the pop self-help pap that passes for theology in many places or rank holier-than-thou legalism so much of the American Christian conversation deals with what you have to do, what you need to do.

I think I may have to write a book on how to live the Christian Life. Are you ready?

"Stop Being a Schmuck"

There you have it.

See, so often we have things backwards. We think that if I want to grow as a person, I have to do more and more and more. Yet we forget one thing. We stink on ice. By nature we are sinful and fallen. If I, as a sinful human being, simply try to do more and more, I'm going to do more and more, and much of it selfish and self-serving (and possibly self-righteous) as well.

So flip it around. Do you want to be a better Christian? Then stop being a schmuck. Seriously - don't try to do more. Focus on checking your self, hemming yourself, bridling your tongue, clamping down on your anger, kicking your selfishness in the groin.

But how will this make you a better Christian? Because it is not you who live, but Christ who lives within you. You must decrease that He may increase. And what are you doing when you stop yourself from being a schmuck -- getting out of Christ's way, so He can put you to use for the purposes for which He created you.


Mike Baker said...

I think Adolf Koberle had a much more seductively pious-sounding title for this book. He called it "The Quest for Holiness". He then proceeded to destroy the idea that we can engage in such a quest for hundreds of pages and then outlines how it is Christ who makes us holy apart from the works. :P

...of course "Stop Being a Schmuck" works too.

Rev. Eric J Brown said...

Actually, that title was a title by American editors who didn't think that the actual German title (which I can't remember) would sell as much.

Mike Baker said...

Did the German roughly translate "Stop Being a Schmuck"? ;)

....cause that would be awesome.

Rev. Eric J Brown said...

No, it was just clinical and academic. Sounded like a dissertation title.