I’m sitting on a plane listening to “Modern Jesus”, a song written and performed by ‘Portugal. The Man’, on repeat. I’m returning from a exceptionally spiritual experience, though not of the Christian brand. I spent two weeks over Christmas and New Years at Plum Village, a Buddhist monastery in the south of France. I can’t help but feel a connection to the song.
“Come on in,
Take a seat next to me,
You know we got,
We got what you need.
We may be liars, preaching to choirs,
But we can,
We can sell your dreams”
The lyrics feel almost disgusting. This is a picture of the proselytizing of Christianity, something remarkably absent from my experience at the Buddhist monestary. The sentiment that Christianity is often sold like a car by an aggressive, slimy, used car salesman is one that I can hardly deny. A stranger approaches (or traps you in your airplane seat), selling eternal bliss like a commodity.These salesmen advertise a Christianity which tends to resemble a 1950s shop that only serves certain races. This Christianity has a sign turning away unwed mothers, homosexuals, addicts, and other “sinners”. Forgiveness isn’t part of the marketing plan. Like Costco, this Christianity requires membership dues, in the form of baptism, Sunday worship, and bible study- but once you’ve paid up- you’re part of the club and pardoned from damnation. It’s a wonder anyone ever becomes Christian anymore! The only product these salesmen are toting isn’t even available until we’re dead!
It’s high time people start selling a Christianity that we want and need!
Gen Y is completely deprived of community. Our lives are communicated over email, text messaging, and Facebook. It’s safer that way. We don’t have to listen to politicians telling us lies. We don’t have to worry about being assaulted by someone having a bad day. We don’t have to make important decisions about the world. We’re armchair warriors, fighting with keyboards and ‘X’ing off the commentary we don’t care for. We NEED community. We need a loving community. We need a joyful community. We need a peaceful community. We need a hopeful community. Jesus said so. Buddha said so. Martin Luther King, Jr. said so. Maslow said so.
Let’s sell a Christian community where everyone is welcome!
My experience with the Community of Christ began that simply. An invite to come hang out at the Journey House Campus Ministry Center started it all. I needed friends, and there they were. Later, when I needed a peaceful place to live, the doors were opened to me. When I was hungry, food was offered. When I needed a shoulder to cry on, there it was. No one ever had to sell me a thing.
A community of joy, love, peace, and hope, is a product people NEED! It’s going to sell itself.
Photos by: Adam Wade