The central teachings of Jesus aren’t designed to make us better christians. They’re designed to make us better humans. You can disagree with me on this, but I truly see this as a reality we all need to face. I was reminded of that today by a dear friend, Caedmon Michael. Too many churches today strive hard to make better christians, or what they call better disciples; though, I’ve always had a hard time defining what it means to be a disciple based on the teachings of some churches. Some many churches have the idea that being a better disciple means, how you dress, knowing the right christian words to use, having a christian world view, caring for those close to you, while maintaining the lines between us and them. For those churches, being a good disciple means you support the institution, you give of your time, talents, and funds to make sure the institution functions in the right way. I think Jesus had a much better plan; be a better human.
For Jesus, to be a follower, means you change – you grow – you give – you care – you forgive – you share – you LOVE. It’s not what you can do to help an institution, but what you can do to help those who are hurting, the marginalize, the disconnected. If, for whatever reason, you believe being s christian means you pull away from those in need, and huddle together behind the fortress walls, you’re missing the point, and excitement, of what it means to be a follower. You’re missing the joy of helping others.When we sit in the stands, waiting for our team to take the field, the questions become, how deep are you willing to go into the lives of those who are hurting? How dirty are you willing to get by diving into the mud, to help others out? Are you willing to give your life diving into the swamp to save the life of another? Are you willing to be on the field playing the game, or are you happy just sitting, and watching? Keep in mind, being a follower of the teachings of Jesus is not a spectator sport. It requires you to be active, to play, to be on the field, to be, and to become, a better human. Sometimes, when we’re on the field, we get bruised, we get bumped, we fall. Sometimes, the opposing team gets the lead, but we don’t give up – we move forward; we keep playing, no matter the how hard we get hit. We become better humans in the process. Over my time as a follower, I have heard many people, pastors, and institutional leaders say, “we are only human” – and that is true, but we should be growing to become better humans if we claim to be a follower of Jesus.