Clichéd ChristianityI just read Tim Challies' very good post on our (meaning Christians in general) contentment with the comfortable, the overused, the trite, and the unhelpful. As our world faces huge disasters everyday on one hand and monotonous pointlessness on the other, we need answers for life that go much deeper than simply spouting off a phrase that we read or heard or think sounds profound. We need truth and we need to humbly wrestle with misery and mystery.
This weight is resting very heavily upon my heart tonight. I just returned from an anxiety support group which was being held at a local church here in Chandler, AZ. My obligatory attendance was based on a nursing school assignment. The group purported to be Christian, but the answers given for dealing with anxiety were no better than the worlds, no they were the world's: Deep breath, relax, distract yourself, and trust in your Higher Power. Suffering people were drawn to this group which claimed it would provide solutions and answers to their overwhelming anxiety with the world. My mention of Philippians 4:6-7 and the insinuation (based on Christ in the boat with the disciples asking "Where is your faith?") that extreme anxiety may be sin for which the solution would be repentance was met with blank stares and a change of subject. The claim that prayer, thanking God, trusting God, and casting our cares upon God was assumed to be nothing more than just another "coping mechanism" similar to cathartic conversation, positive self-talk, and distraction. My God is just as good as your God and it doesn't matter what we believe about Him, just as long as He (or She) helps you feel better about yourself and be less stressed. I was struck with the glaring and painful truth that this is the message of much of Christiandom and the message that I think gets through to peoples ears when we use terms that have been robbed and clichéd by "Evangelicalism".