Gucci shoes & Giovanni bags are all part of a certain Southern Christian scene. It’s the trappings the Good Lord would want us to have as we strut through life. Or as one character on the new ABC show premiering this Sunday puts it, “God speaks to me through Bentleys.” It’s called Good Christian Bitches. (GCB) I’m not sure I’ll be watching mainly because I’ve seen the scene up close. Think “Designing Women” meets “Saved” with “Sex and the City” fashion thrown in.
Watching or not, I’ll certainly wince. It’s another reason – culturally speaking – why I hesitate to be identified as a church-going Christian. I love Jesus. But wow. His church has a serious image problem. As a collective, we just can’t seem to focus on much beyond ourselves and our comforts. And even when we do get beyond ourselves it’s largely to legislate sexual morality for others. To hear the Christian political leaders talk you’d think that banning contraceptives, abortions and gay marriage are the only things Jesus’ flock is concerned with.
But that’s old news.
This Lent it has struck me again that the image of the church is only going to change when I begin to change. When I speak more clearly and live more congruently in the alternative kingdom of God. It’s when I say no to another latte and I explain why I’m refusing to my coffee companion; it’s when someone makes a comment about the poor “milking” the system, and I point out the grace the commenter has received from the system. And perhaps most importantly it’s when I start to proactively look for ways I can be part of the healing, the restoration, the reconciliation of the broken hearted and the broken systems around me that the description Christian will start to resemble what it used to mean: The Way of Jesus.