I read a wonderful article today regarding the phrase “working on my relationship with God.” Rather than simply give my own commentary, I thought I’d simple share an excerpt and a link to the article. The author is Richard Beck (Professor and Department Chair of Psychology at Abilene Christian University).
Below is the excerpt:
If you have ever worked in the restaurant industry you know the reputation of the Sunday morning lunch crowd. Millions of Christians go to lunch after church on Sundays and their behavior is abysmal. The single most damaging phenomenon to the witness of Christianity in America today is the collective behavior of the Sunday morning lunch crowd. Never has a more well-dressed, entitled, dismissive, haughty or cheap collection of Christians been seen on the face of the earth.
I exaggerate of course. But I hope you see my point. Rather than pouring our efforts into two hours of worship, bible study and Christian fellowship on Sunday why don’t we just take a moment and a few extra bucks to act like a decent human being when we go to lunch afterwards? Just think about it. What if the entire restaurant industry actually began to look forward to working Sunday lunch? If they said amongst themselves, “I love the church crowd. They are kind, patient and very generous. It’s my favorite part of the week waiting on Christians.” How might such a change affect the way the world sees us? Think about it. Just being a decent human being for one hour each Sunday and the world sees us in a whole new way.
But it’s not going to happen. Because behavior at lunch isn’t considered to be “working on your relationship with God.” Behavior at lunch isn’t spiritual. Going to church, well, that is working on your relationship with God. But, as we all know, any jerk can sit in a pew. But you can’t be a jerk if you take the time to treat your waitress as if she were your friend, daughter or mother.
My point in all this is that contemporary Christianity has lost its way. Christians don’t wake up every morning thinking about how to become a more decent human being. Instead, they wake up trying to “work on their relationship with God” which very often has nothing to do with treating people better. How could such a confusion have occurred? How did we end up going so wrong?
Read the full article.
The article is titled “The Bait and Switch of Contemporary Christianity” and can be found in its full entirety on the “God’s Politics” blog of the Sojourners website, and on Beck’s own blog, “Experimental Theology.”
We have this tendency to try and separate the ‘spiritual’ from the secular activities in our lives. Where does that concept come from? In scripture we are instructed to ‘do all to the glory of God’ and ‘in the name of Jesus’. Would we tip differently if when we laid the money on the table we would follow it with a verbal blessing of: “To the glory of God” or “In the name of Jesus”?
Somehow we need to breakdown these imaginary walls we’ve created that compartmentalize our lives into spiritual versus secular and learn to live our lives ‘wholly’ devoted to God, don’t you think?