Raw Christianity. That’s what I want to deal with today. Heard anyone use this phrase yet to describe their faith? It’s been bandied about (just how do you go about bandying something about?) in a couple of different circles of friends of mine. And it kind of rubs me, well, raw.
What I understand them to mean when they call themselves raw Christians is that we should be genuine in our faith, we need to drop all pretense of being something that we aren’t and just let people see us for what we are—sinners saved by grace. We need to dispense with the mask wearing, stop putting on airs of self-righteousness, and be real. Now that’s not what concerns me, I actually think that’s the way we should live out our faith, both with our fellow followers and with our friends in the world. (Pretty good alliteration there, huh?) I need to be real, to let others know the real Jim Miller, my heart, my hurts, failings. (Almost did it again, but couldn’t think of an H word for failings.) I get that.
What does concern me is that some of those who talk about being Raw Christians use it as a rationalization to do and say whatever they want. From using street language to justifying lifestyle choices. All in the name of being real, or raw.
But I like a different R word. Instead of being a raw Christian, I want to be a radical follower of Jesus. I want to live a Sermon on the Mount kind of life. I want to embrace costly, not cheap, grace. To live counter to the culture, not conformed to it. To answer the call to radical obedience, not out of some legalistic attitude where I’m trying to look good for God and others, but out of a loving relationship where I want to please the God who loves me. I want to risk for God. I want to hold nothing back. I don’t want to settle for the mediocrity of the raw lifestyle, I rather want to be challenged to a radical pursuit of God. A ‘take up my cross’ kind of pursuit.
And just in case you missed it: real, raw, rationalization, risk, radical. Sign me up for the last one.