The New Christian Trend

I've been thinking about this over the past couple weeks because of a blog post I recently did and my thought process after it published. In late March, I posted a funny text my husband sent me in response to me asking if he would kill me if I spent a certain amount on a certain item (which happened to be a purse). After publishing this post, I soon had the urge to go in and edit it. I actually opened the page to add a disclaimer letting my readers know that I rarely shop and that the item I bought ended up being majorly on sale.

I didn't edit the post because I decided that if posting that story made me look flighty and materialistic, or made people think I regularly splurged at the mall, I didn't care. I decided it was just pride for me to want to clarify the story. In certain groups, letting people know of your shopping or spending is favorable. I am not in that group (nor would I want to be), but this brings me to what I see as the new "Christian trend"...

My disclaimer is this: I will be the first to say that erring on the side of frugality is always the best option. Giving more away and keeping less for yourself is definitely the right call. Learning to live simpler, more moderate lives is a very worthy discipline, something I'm always needing grace to do.

My issue with all this comes in when frugality or "doing" becomes a point of pride, just like the converse of boasting of possessions. My issue comes in when levels of spirituality are suddenly equated to what books you're reading, fasts you're doing, and what you're involved in.

Why can't we just say we enjoyed a nice dinner out without clarifying we used a gift card? Why can't we just accept a compliment on our new shirt without making sure we mention it was on clearance?  Why is this any different than letting people know how much we spent on our last vacation or the huge flat screen we just bought?

Isn't it all pride, just of a different sort?

Isn't it all to make ourselves look better depending on our audience?

Here's my point:

I love that through books like Crazy Love and Radical, the "typical American Christian" view is changing and being challenged. I really love that. What I don't love, is how now each "rebel against the culture" book is the new fad and suddenly being more spiritual goes along with jumping on all these bandwagons. To me, it's teetering on the edge of works-based righteousness, and isn't that what we try so hard to avoid?

(The first 18 verses of Matthew 6 speak to this topic)


Sarah said...

LOVE the truth in this post. It's been on my mind lately as well, but you took it a step further and really made me think. Thank you!

leah said...

ditto my sister! her & i were JUST talking about this last week! thanks for bringing it to light and continuing to make me think & evaluate.

love the healthy balance you mentioned. it IS awesome that God is changing our generation with some of these thoughts & ideas...BUT satan is always going to disort God's work and plant pride & impure motives in hearts like MINE.

love you friend!

L, Ann and boys said...

hmmmmm...I have to say amen sister to this post with respect to anyone attempting a more disciplined approach to life in faith-in faith being the key phrase. I love it that the Bible says (somewhere =) whatever you do, just be joyful about it. and in another place, if you are fasting, don't do it for a big's about you and God not racking up points of holiness. Great post.

And...the fact that you were checking in on the purchase before buying made me assume the best on your shopping choices-just as a side note. ;)

I'm a compulsive "cart-er". I put stuff in my cart, walk around with it like it's mine for an hour and then don't buy it at the register. I think I'm kind of mental sometimes. ;) A joyful mental though ;) ;)


Amber said...

Loved this too Em - I've mentioned to Ryan several times that it's as easy for it to become as legastic as the next thing.

And I catch myself doing it (like the, "we had a gift card, I bought this on sale. . . "). I just told my sister the other day how much I'm working on closing my mouth before that part comes out. I want thankfulness for what God has provided, regardless. And I want my worth to rest in Him and not in how others think of how I live my life. Although I do hope my life reflects Christ to others.

And Andrea - mental shopping can be SO therapeutic. : )

Rebekah said...

Agreed Emily.

It's so easy for we humans to take a good thing and make it all about us isn't it?

Seems like (in my opinions) that this is one of the problems with the emergent church (besides the doctinal problems). Becoming so works based...

you already said it well, so I don't need to ramble on. Just wanted to say I agree.

Aaron and Jill said...

I really like this post...this is most definitely a struggle for me! It is so hard to not be prideful in whatever way we live our lives. I really appreciate your thoughts!!

smw said...

it is always refreshing to know you are not alone in your thoughts. and for the record, i think we could have some good talks. :)

Sara Huber said...

So true...and so frustrating how Satan always takes Scripture and truth and twists it, taking away the "good seed" that has potential to bring great fruit in our lives.

Thinking of you a lot while I am here and remembering things you told me about your time here...means so much more as I see it myself!

T and M said...

very thought-provoking & appreciated the Matthew 6 reference. i know my natural bent towards list-making & legalism so this is a great reminder ( :