Journaling in Distant Lands; Becoming Christian-ish

100_0643The missionary uses words that sound English enough but I’m not quite sure of their meanings. It seems one of his favorites is this ‘ish‘ type descriptive. Ish is an interesting word for by simply attaching it to the back of any other word, an ambiguity takes front row of the syntax; kind of much like the land we visit.

We ask with sincerity, “Is this safe?” We hear, “It’s safe-ish.” Huh?

We learn to appreciate the missionary’s first disciple and his honesty… we cling to him for clarity, and learn, safe-ish means there’s a soldier in a bunker with machine gun pointed our way.

100_0805Ambiguity is also an interesting term. The missionary uses it to describe the distant land. There is really never a time in this land when anyone has a firm grip on anything. The missionary and his family have learned to roll with the flow of ambiguity, else our western need for control of every situation would be their demise. One such episode is described well here.

I find myself unable to resist the temptation to borrow the missionary’s lingo, letting the emphasis of ‘cool, cool‘ resonate, but especially finding a home for the ish term; Christian-ish, have we become Christian-ish in the west?

I say to myself, “Self, do those before you have a clear picture of the gospel being lived out everyday in your life; in your words that are spoken?” Or rather, must I attach an ish for qualifier?

What would Christian-ish look like?

Does it take the form of Al Mohler’s words describing a nation that calls itself Christian, “overwhelmingly believing in some deity, considering itself fervently religious, but having virtually no connection to historic Christianity.”? Maybe it rears its head in resemblance of a self-serving lifestyle, where one stores his treasures here on earth, neglecting his heavenly vault impervious to moths and thieves?

The missionary in the distant land may use the term ish often, in reality wearing it out, but no one will ever find the place to attach it to his brand of Christianity, and I’m quite confident his is the one we are called to, the one where Jesus lives and reigns.

This is not so absurd and not suggestive as to suspect life in the distant land and life on American soil can look and feel the same; culturally it is improbable. Yet the gospel that bids the missionary come and die is the very same gospel that bids us do likewise, regardless of locale.

100_0784Unlike the relationship between safe and safe-ish, being Christian-ish really isn’t Christianity at all. Christian-ish is just another self-serving pathway, a trail we foolishly believe allows us to attain Jesus’ stuff without His trials and suffering. Christian-ish is an ambiguous means of demonstrating the gospel, and it has left an entire generation confused and disengaged (see Mr. Mohler’s article link above). The wonder is that there is optimism at all. There is…

In the distant land the missionary is seeing evidences of seedlings struggling to break free from good soil. In America, praise the Lord, there are those recognizing the high cost of half-hearted Christianity and many have been awakened to the urgency of living a surrendered life to God and the powerful good news of His Son.

About mtsweat

Seeking the rest that is only promised and found in Christ Jesus, along with my treasured wife of more than twenty-five years, we seek to grow in our relationship with our Heavenly Father, walk with the Holy Spirit as He moves our hearts, loving others always as Jesus loves us, and carry the news of His glory, the wonderful gospel, that gives light and life where there once was only darkness.
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4 Responses to Journaling in Distant Lands; Becoming Christian-ish

  1. Steven Sawyer says:

    Great post, Mike. Interesting comparison to Christianity here in the U.S. And I completely agree with: “Christian-ish is just another self-serving pathway, a trail we foolishly believe allows us to attain Jesus’ stuff without His trials and suffering. Christian-ish is an ambiguous means of demonstrating the gospel, and it has left an entire generation confused and disengaged.” It’s a very sadish commentary. I wish it weren’t so truish of so many churches and folks who call themselves “Christians” today. Thanks for posting.

  2. ccragamuffin says:

    Christian-ish. Hmmmm.
    he word “Christian” is only found a few times in the Scriptures…the word “Disciple” is used over two hundred times.

    “It is enough for a disciple that he be like his teacher, and a servant like his master.” Mt 10:25
    “A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone who is perfectly TRAINED will BE LIKE his teacher.” Luke 6:40

    Dallas Willard wrote extensively that the Great Commission (Mt 28: 19-20) has become the Great Omission because the church has settled for making “Christians” not “disciples”. Ouch. There are many non-disciples…IN the church as well as out.
    Maybe the “Christian-ish” problem is really a discipleship problem? If we are not disciples, then we cannot be trained to be like our teacher. If we are not making disciples then how will those we introduce to Christ know how to live like Christ?

    Thank you for this blog entry…it is a flashlight to the corners of my heart. A quick look at a few of the discipleship verses shows how much I am still in need of training. Heartburn here.

  3. RJ Dawson says:

    Thanks Mike. I certainly share your optimism, though it appears my own experience is one where optimism has finally, at last, after laying in the ground for decades, began to push forth into the upward air, and reveal itself and its reality, like those seedlings above, after being crushed seemingly forever by its unconnected opposite counterpart, that which lives to tamp down its destroyer destined to destroy IT.

    I recall the verse from Revelation, where the devil tried to kill the Lord as soon as He was born! He apparently had no access to abortion at that time, as death overwhelms life by the millions in this “blessed Christian-ish country.”

    And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she gave birth he might devour her child. [Revelation 12:4]

    Sadly, long before the abortionist’s deadly daggers began wreaking havoc on the unborn young of this land, religious abortionists had been long at work snuffing out any and every effort at life within many American churches and denominations in order to keep the Lord from ever being born or killing Him soon after, that no spiritual life would ever grace their religious temples of death and lifeless dogma, doing all to maintain iron-fisted control.

    And by keeping out the hated doctrines of others who returned the favor every Sunday, most of the Christian-ish stayed alive to present, fleshly, and materialistic pursuits but dead to the Lord and His real Life.

    Presently, again, though many continue to kill, the Lord has come forth anyway and is coming forth. None will stop Him. The cold hard fact is that no one has fought Him more here than professed Christians, but in killing Him they killed themselves.

    We are without doubt in the early stages of a national Great Awakening which cannot and will not be stopped.

    And she gave birth to a son, a male child, who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron; and her child was caught up to God and to His throne…

  4. gospelofbarney says:

    It is always dangerous to be a Christian, Christian-ish is like being almost pregnant!

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