Mere Christianity: Picky, Picky

I have a confession to make. Those of you that know me well will probably be quite shocked.

I watched the GOP Debate on Monday night.

I know! So uncharacteristic of me, right?!

I’ve told a handful of people and the responses have ranged from “WHY?!” to “What debate?” to “Well, there’s two hours of your life you’ll never get back.”

One thing that people learn about me pretty quickly is that although I do hide my head in the sand for a while, when I realize there’s a problem, I’m an activist. Over the last eight years, I’ve had this slow, hesitant realization that there’s a problem in the world and that I have to do something about it. But to do something about it, I have to educate myself. I have to sit up and pay attention. And this week, that meant watching the debate so that when the next election comes, I’ll know enough that my vote will really mean something.

According to CS Lewis, “Because Christ said we could only get into His world by being like children, many Christians have the idea that, provided you are ‘good,’ it does not matter being a fool….He wants a child’s heart, but a grown-up’s head. He wants us to be simple, single-minded, affectionate, and teachable, as good children are; but He also wants every bit of intelligence we have to be alert at its job, and in first class fighting trim.” (pp.74-75, emphasis mine)

I think that most of us believe that our lives and the world around us should be better, but that doesn’t mean that we’re willing to do what it takes to make it better. For me, I had a realization that what it takes to make it better is making me better.

But I’ve got a problem. I want to pick and choose what I allow to get better. And I’m not the only one. At one end of the spectrum, there are those who refuse to acknowledge that there is a God and that He has a plan. But even worse are Christians, like me, who know that there is a God and that He has a plan, yet refuse to live in that plan and allow Him to make changes in them. For me, that often means that changes are gradual and proceeded by some kind of explosion.

CS Lewis said, “We have all departed from that total plan in different ways, and each of us wants to make out that his own modification of the original plan is the plan itself. You will find this again and again about anything that is really Christian: everyone is attracted by bits of it and wants to pick out those bits and leave this rest.” (p. 80)

Thankfully, I’m not the only one guilty of this. I was so grateful when my friend, Hobie, told me he was in the same boat.  His Mom was a single mother and probably because she was going it alone, she was kind of a dictator. One thing she insisted upon was that he go to church. He did. He even liked it. And he wanted to “be a good Christian” but he had a problem.

“I heard the words to Amazing Grace that talked about being a wretch. And the old men at church would stand up and talked about how God had healed them of their sinful ways. But I wasn’t like that. I was a pretty good guy. I liked who I was. So, I decided I wouldn’t give my heart to Christ because I didn’t want a personality transplant.”

One day, my friend figured out a very important thing, though. He realized that God created him the way he was because he was valuable and precious, just like he was. Hobie said, “God didn’t want to do a lobotomy on me! He just wanted to take that pretty good guy I was and get all the dinks out. He wanted to shine me up so I could do something real with my life.”

I’m realizing more and more that being a Christian doesn’t mean taking yourself out of the world and cloistering yourself away in a religious box. It means opening your eyes and being aware. It means letting God educate you and perfect those gifts in you that will help you make the world a better place. It means not hiding from the world, but participating in it as the person that God has created you to be. And for me, this week, that meant watching the debates to help educate myself so that I can hang onto my childlike heart, yet still have a grown-up’s head when the election comes.

Have you ever been one who wanted to pick and choose what parts of God’s plan you like and are willing to accept? Where is God challenging you to let Him work in your life?

This post is part of the regularly-scheduled book discussion my friend, Jason, and I co-facilitate each Wednesday. My post this week is actually a discussion of the last TWO chapters since I was unable to post last week. We are currently discussing CS Lewis’ classic book, Mere Christianity. We invite you to come along whether you’ve done the reading or not. All comments are welcome. And if you’ve written a response to this chapter on your own blog, please feel free to link your post via the link widget below. Thanks for coming by! You are always welcome!

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  1. i certainly like to go to Him with a child’s heart. Though i don’t always accomplish this.
    it has been a good read so far.
    i am glad that you and jason are hosting this. thanks.

  2. Sarah Salter says:

    You’re welcome, Nance! Thanks for joining us!

  3. Oh! Guilty as charged. 🙁 Great post Sarah!

  4. Sarah Salter says:

    Thanks, Nancy! And I think most of us are guilty of this one. 🙂

  5. I’ll let my post for today be my answer to your question.

  6. I too watched the Republican debates in New Hampshire. It’s uncharacteristic of me to be that concerned about what the minor Republicans are saying, but I figured that since it was leading into the election process that I should at least educate myself on the candidates a bit before the infighting gets intense and then they start dropping out of the race one by one. I told my wife up front that I wasn’t sure if I had the stomach to listen to what I was sure to be a bunch of “Obama-bashing” for 2 hours, and it did turn out to be pretty partisan, but what else do you expect from a group of Republicans that are all trying to impress their own party members. I will very likely NOT be voting Republican in this next election, but I’m still glad I watched that debate. I did see a couple of disturbing moments when some of the candidates let their true racist feelings shine through, and it was refreshing to see their “true faces”.

  7. Sarah Salter says:

    Logan, thanks for coming by. I wasn’t surprised to see a lot of “Obama-bashing” Monday night. The Republicans know that if they’re going to get elected in, that they’re first going to have to prove that Obama hasn’t done his job. (I’m not saying that this is or isn’t the case. I’m just saying that this is what they have to prove to a majority of voters in order to get elected.) For me, I saw a lot on Monday night that I was disturbed by (in fact, I got pretty angry at one point… we can talk about that in another venue.) But I also saw some things that encouraged me (which we can also talk about in another venue.) Again, thanks for coming by! Give my love to Angie! 🙂

  8. Great post, Sarah!

  9. I think this is something missing largely in the body of Christ–we empty ourselves of our sin and lusts and all that for sure, but we we’ve made it appear spiritual to deny everything inside us. The image He created us in may have been fractured when sin entered, but it wasn’t eradicated. The passions, heart, and intellect He gave us is meant to be used for His glory and not hidden in false humility. Yeah, I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately! 🙂 Thanks Sarah.

  10. He created us to be who we are. He created us with different personalities, skills, abilities, talents, looks, hopes, dreams and desires. Because that’s what he wanted us to be.

    Good post, Sarah.

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