On Friday, our property manager (who attends one of the biggest churches here in Hawaii) brought a couple who were interested in our apartment. They were Korean also. When they asked why I was moving, Debbie (our property manager) told them that I was a pastor and I got appointed to a church in the mainland. At the time, I was wearing a hat, an old T-shirt and some basketball shorts. I tell you that because the reaction of the woman was priceless. She just stared, and said, really? (Probably because all the pastors she’s encountered are always far better dressed than I).
Then she said that two of her cousins were pastors and that her uncle was one too. Then she added, “So I’m kind of a Christian too.”
I wish I asked her to clarify what that meant (just for the sake of my entertainment).
But a long after she left, I kind of appreciated her answer. At least she was being honest. Because how many people do we know (myself included, standing in front of the line) have called ourselves Christians when we really are “kind of” Christians?
And how many are out there that think they’re Christians because they just come to church on Sundays?
I’ve been going through Acts for my devotionals. And I can’t ignore the fact that Peter and Paul are two complete different people after their encounter with the Risen Christ. And I can’t ignore the fact that how many of us are still the same after our encounter. Sure, our exterior is different. But the core of many of us are still the old creation. We’re just an old car with a new paint job. Or as one pastor put it, a brand new car with an old engine.
I forgot where I read this, but we are called to be transformed people living in a transformed world.
But I don’t think that happens as much as I would like to see. (Again, I’m writing this thinking about myself first and foremost).
I don’t know if the following words will make sense to you. But at this moment, it makes sense to me. Jason Kidd, when he was drafted was quoted saying, “I’m going to help this team make a 360 degree turn.” (I am sure he meant a 180 turn) And I think that’s what we do as Christians. We change a little bit here and there. We end up taking 90 degree turns. And we eventually end up making a 360 degree turn, ending up the very point we started. (Maybe when I reread this later in the week, I might say, along with you, what the heck am I trying to say?)
In Adam Hamilton’s book Seeing Gray, there’s a chapter entitled, “Is Your Jesus Too Small?” And, as Shane Claiborne wrote, Jesus wrecks our lives. Jesus is a problem (for many of us, if not all). And since for many of us, our Jesus is too small. And because our Jesus is too small, the problem Jesus portrays is too small. Small enough that we can ignore the call that is placed upon our hearts. A problem small enough that it can go unheard, unseen and unfelt and maybe unbelievable and unreliable.
I guess to stop being a “Kind of” Christian, one way is to make our Jesus not such a small part of our lives, but make Jesus every part of our lives.