I Am A False Teacher
And I'm Oddly Okay With It
I am a false teacher. I’m a hypocrite. I’m a liar. I’m a manipulator. I will lead you astray. Just thought you should know these things about me. And no, I’m not being hyperbolic. And, I’m oddly okay with it all.
I’ve lived my whole life trying to fit into the boxes other people have constructed for me about how I should live, talk, believe, breathe. But I’m done with that kind of living. So, yeah, I’m getting a little bit of an edge. And it’s causing some people to raise an eyebrow as they see me crawling out of their box.
I’ve received some interesting messages about some things I’ve written recently. Many have been unbelievably loving and supportive (thank you!). Others have written things that are outright mean, questioning my character, etc. It’s easy to shrug off the piranhas. But the most curious responses—the ones that stick to me a bit longer—are the ones from people who feel compelled to say, “in love,” how off base they think I am. That my version of Christianity might actually be drifting off into the dangerous netherworld of secularism or whatever other -ism you might want to attach to me.
It helps me knowing that most of my heroes of the faith get regularly bashed for all kinds of things—even something as absurd as (supposedly) leading people into the occult. (Sidenote: Interestingly enough, the definition of “occult” is: supernatural, magical, or mystical practices or phenomena—actual things that our Christian faith takes pride in doing.) Some amazing people I admire regularly get lambasted for saying things that don’t line up with said tweeter’s theology. Look at anyone with a voice or a platform and you’ll find an army of people who will shout their disagreement with their viewpoints.
No One Is Doing It Right
I’d like to offer that none of us are doing it right. None of us have God figured out. Nobody can say, “Well, I read this verse and here’s exactly what God meant by it…and anyone who thinks otherwise is a heretic.” This is why over 30,000 different Christian denominations have been formed—one group thinks these verses mean this, and the other group thinks they mean the opposite.
I’ve also noticed that there are certain keywords people in different denominations will use to let others know that they are the “right kind” of believers. I won’t use those.
After a church concert I put on a few years ago, the pastor came up to me and said, “Great concert. Really inspiring and filled with hope. But you really should say the name of Jesus more often.” I was shocked at first, but honestly, I understand where he’s coming from. I also understand that it’s used as a code word to let people know that “we’re all on the same team here.”
Want to know what I said to him? I said, “I believe Jesus is in everything that happened tonight. Every word I said, every song I sang.” You should also know that I probably won’t say things the way you want me to say them.
I don’t want to sound smug or proud at my response, but I do believe that the more we see the possibility of sacredness in everything and everyone, the more we start seeing God in a fuller, more wondrous way. In this way everything I do becomes an act of worship—a way to say thanks to the Giver of all life. Everywhere I go and everyone I meet provides me an opportunity to see another part of God I haven’t yet seen.
My Hidden Agenda Revealed
So, what’s my hidden agenda? Where would I like to lead you? What’s the slippery slope I’d like to edge you toward? My not-so-secret mission is to lead you to a deeper place of knowing how unbelievably and unconditionally you are loved by God, who created you with great purpose and specificity, so you can experience this life—with God, yourself, and others—in a way no one else can. And beyond that, I’d love to lead you to a place of courage where there’s nothing you can do but give away that same love to every single person you meet. That the walls we have egregiously built between “us and them” are destroyed by great sledgehammers of love. That the concept of “them” will disappear all together. That the concept of “us” will compel us to care for and fight for each other in such radical ways that it appears we’re all laying down our lives for each other, just as Jesus demonstrated with his own life.