Recently a good friend asked his Facebook friends to post a picture on his page of a book they were reading alongside a tea/coffee. There were responses from all parts of the globe. Some titles include; Mysteries, Marvels, Miracles, How to Raise the Dead, Becoming the Beloved, Essential Guide to Healing, Experiencing the Heavenly, The Heavenly Man, The Life of William Branham, Divine Embrace and Living in God’s Power. All sound like great books drawing us deeper and further into experiencing Him. All were accompanied by a great picture of a mug of coffee or tea. Then all of a sudden this reply came from another friend, Shannon Byous Ruddy;
“Someone I’m friends with on Facebook is asking everyone to post what they’re reading. So, many people are posting Christian books… Books on St Patrick, Glory, Prayer, etc. I think that’s good. I really do. However, I also kinda think let’…s be honest… Almost ALL of you are reading holy books? Or are you sharing what the audience of this page expects? I know. I’m cynical, but here’s what I’m reading and drinking tonight… and I’m really enjoying the story and the drink and I’m very aware of my inside thoughts, struggles and life with God at the same time. Let’s be honest.”
I loved this reply and it made me think about our honesty and/or cover up, our pretence or just our shallow counter-culture hidden away life that we think creates a life of holiness and separation. Shannon was reading the Fifth Assassin and drinking Green Apple Smirnoff Ice by the way. I do enjoy reading a “Christian” book, but I also love sci-fi and comedy fiction. Yet there is this whole thing of what the audience expects. Giving the reply that everyone would want to read. Keep everyone thinking we are just like them, and just as hungry for God as anybody else. Try to impress everyone with your spiritual quest. I really do think it is time for the worldly Christians to stand up. Those who walk in reality and honesty. Those whose hands may touch the soil and the dirt as well as reach out to heaven while standing in the shit. We have so many living secret lives that will never be told, an inherited way of life from our fathers who saw holiness as a list of rights and wrongs, and segregation of life into compartments of sacred and secular. It is time to redeem the secular until it is built into the light of our everyday lives. Not to change what goes on there but to realise we can still have clean hands and a pure heart and walk there. We can read Harry Potter and hold the heart of heaven.
The Sound of Heaven.
I find the same to be true in the realms of music and film/drama. I love my music and have subscribed to Spotify. One thing that Spotify does is publish what you are listening to on your Facebook page. That is great when you are listening to the latest Hillsong album or Martin Smith from delirious? But when I fancied listening to some old punk tunes like The Clash or the Sex Pistols even I had to ask myself if I wanted others to know what I was listening to. What would they think of me? How holy do they think I am now? But then I thought who gives a stuff. If what I listen to offends or makes people think any less of me then so be it, but personally it makes me no less a person. I am still the apple of God’s eye if I listen to Never Mind the Bollocks…Here’s the Sex Pistols, than I am if I listen to Matt Redman’s 10.000 Reasons. I find a stirring of God in both. I find creativity that is the fingerprint of the Creator in all things. And what’s more I do not have to!!! I can just enjoy it for what it is. Music, entertainment. It is time for the worldly Christians to rise up and be honest.
When I used to take part in a Prophecy School in Cardiff I loved the session when I would take along videos (remember them?) like Minority Report and Field of Dreams and see what God would say to these people through these movies. For some the thought of hearing God’s voice through such a Godless medium was a mind-set shifter and breaker, but many began to see that God was there all along through the script and the scenes. It does not have to the God channel movies, that in reality are full of so much cringe and probably even make God uncomfortable on His throne. It is time for the worldly Christians.
Time for Unapologetic Real Life.
It is time to stop apologising for what we read, watch, drink, eat, do, don’t do. It is time for a reality check. Maybe the truth that will set people free is not quoting a Scripture verse but telling someone we went to a nightclub at the weekend. Maybe the truth that will set someone free is being honest that over the weekend we read a murder mystery novel and loved every minute of it. Maybe the truth that will set people free is that we watched Game of Thrones with all it’s blood and sex and loved every minute of it. There are so many who feel failures because they cannot enjoy the latest Christian book that is in, or cannot stand the latest trend in church life, but would rather drink a beer and watch a movie. Therefore feeling less holy and less acceptable to God and others. We may not preach holiness so much these days but we still communicate a bar so high for some people that they will live condemned in the knowledge that they cannot reach the bar because they are too worldly wise. They do not want to read another book on holiness or how they should be feeling or acting, they want to be real. They want to live in the real world and love it. Not redeem it but find redemption everywhere. There should be no shame or causing people to shame because they want to hold the dirt of life. There is no guilt in God. Musicians and worship leaders get excited because now there is an official Christian music chart here in the U.K. Why are we craving more of the sub-culture instead of embracing and loving the culture in which we live? The music and film world is full of Light anyway. God sneaking in through the reality of everyday music and radio and television. Where there is creativity and art you will find the Creator and the Artist anyway. Stop reading Christian books and just read books. These books may be about Christianity but lets also get worldly. Stop listening to worship music and listen to music. You may just find that that song on the radio stirs up adoration anyway. It is time for the unapologetic, real people to arise. It is time for the honest. It is time for the worldly Christians.