Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Transformation vs. Hypocrisy

While scrolling through headlines to see if there was anything in today’s news that I wanted to read I came across “Troubled Belltown nightspot to become evangelical church”. I clicked in and read with interest about Seattle’s Mars Hill Church buying the former nightclub with plans to open another satellite of their church. Mars Hill now has about 6400 people that participate in their church at 5 different locations. This would be the sixth.

I’ve been to Mars Hill several times. It is a special church. I believe that the Belltown location will be a blessing to those that live nearby and give it a try.

For the past couple of days I’ve been reading a recently released book, “unChristian” by David Kinnaman. Based upon a significant amount of research the book claims that many today don’t draw near to Jesus Christ or to the church because of perceived hypocrisy. Statistically 85% of those surveyed said that “hypocritical” was the way they see Christians. I don’t like that statistic but I also can’t disagree with it.

I love the Church (the institution and the people). I also see a lot of hypocrisy. However, I think a great deal of hypocrisy happens because of a misunderstanding of what it means to be a Christ follower.

For example, with the Belltown location becoming a Mars Hill church, I can promise you that Mars Hill will not simply put their sign out front without changing what happens inside the building. You will no longer go into that building in order to get intoxicated or to watch provocative dancing. That location will be changed inside and out.

Therein is the problem for many “Christians”. According to the data in “unChristian” most Christians believe that the chief mark of being a Christian is that you become a “good person”. That mentality leads many to focus on the outside of their lives. Focusing on behaviors is like Mars Hill focusing on what kind of signage they are going to put outside the new Belltown location. Rather, there must be a focus on transforming the inside.

God’s not interested in Christians pretending that they care about others or acting like they are generous. God’s plan is to transform us so that we are compassionate and giving people.

The word “hypocrite” comes from the ancient Greek theater and referred to actors who wore a mask and pretended to be a character. What’s happening in your life? Is there a focus on internal surgical change, or external facades and masks?

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