Welcome to Raw Christianity. This site is new in that it’s freshly designed and newly launched. But it’s really just a continuation of my old blog. I’ve taken everything I ever posted at the old site and transferred it here, so this blog looks like it’s been around since 2004.
I’ve been working on this site since July but have been waiting until it was finished to announce it. I’ve realized over time that it’s never going to be finished, though, so I’m scrapping that perfectionistic plan and making the change.
You’ll notice that there are no links or recent articles or archives or categories on the sidebar. That’s because this template doesn’t have that option, and despite that lack, I liked this template a little better than the others I saw. You can find a few recommended links by clicking on “Blogroll” at the top of the page. You can get to the archives the same way, or you can scroll down to the very bottom of the page. As if my long-winded verbosity needed archiving so you can have something else not to read.
I’ve included some poems that I’ve written along with a brief background for each one. I do this not because I consider myself a burgeoning poet and want you to be aware of that, but because I believe that poetry is one of the most beautiful ways to communicate truth and one of the most powerful ways to inspire the soul and one of the most uplifting ways to encourage the faint-hearted. I think it’s too easy to be self-conscious about one’s writing, to keep it hidden away, and perhaps even to indulge in private, finger-licking pride about a secret gift or a hidden hobby. I don’t want to think like that. I just want to do my best to encourage, exhort, and challenge my brothers and sisters towards living for and finishing the radical mission of Jesus. Poetry is simply one way I try to do that. I don’t try mainly to be profound but to write things that are (1) true, (2) clear, and (3) striking.
Some of you may have already guessed where the title picture is from. If you haven’t yet, take a look at it and give it a shot before you read the next few sentences. I took it at sunset on a striking evening in June 2005. I was standing with Cindi on the Mount of Olives overlooking the Old City of Jerusalem and I zoomed all the way in to the flaming oranges and reds that were backlighting the city. This picture has always reminded me of the jagged, rugged, burning, enduring passion of Jesus which was seen most clearly in this dark city where He wept and bled and died for the sins of the world. It always reminds me that Christianity is raw because Jesus was no joke.
Raw Christianity is a phrase that the Lord emblazoned on my mind a few years ago in my 2nd or 3rd year as a Resident Director at The Master’s College (where I’m still ministering). I remember exactly where I was and who I was with when it came to mind. I was sharing in an RD meeting at Erin Johnston’s house (now Erin Klang) about my own battle with spiritual hypocrisy and externally-driven Christianity. I felt like I clearly saw this whitewashed religiosity in my own life, and I didn’t like it. I still don’t.
I said that what I’ve always wanted to be is someone who doesn’t seek to be a polished disciple or a smooth Christian but who is authentic and on-edge and full of faith and biblical risk-taking. I don’t want my life to be full of monotone prayers and programmed evangelism and dull worship and bland confessions and dutiful quiet times and shallow relationships and American comforts and spineless choices. I want to be aggressively Christian. I want to have a Bible-soaked mind and an unwavering endurance and a tireless passion and a trembling fear of God. I want prophetic boldness and relentless love and an unstoppable drive to obey the commands of Christ. I want an unmistakable compassion for God-rejectors, a piercing sense of the reality of heaven and hell, and an unceasing desire to see the glory of God fill the earth like the waters fill the sea.
Jesus didn’t do status quo obedience or spiritual mediocrity or political correctness. He wasn’t even religiously correct. What He did was the will of His Father, with a rugged and unfailing commitment to turn neither to the right nor to the left. From His affections to His actions, from His practice to His preaching, from His life to His death, He was for real. And I want, so badly, to be like Him.
I don’t want polished Christianity. I don’t want social Christianity. I don’t want cosmetic Christianity. I want Raw Christianity. I have been realizing that since a few months after I became a believer, I shared about it in that memorable RD meeting a few years ago, and I feel no differently tonight.
This blog is not a therapeutic exercise for me. I don’t write to get things off my chest or to rant or to criticize. I’ve always thought those were very empty and destructive reasons for blogging. Rather, I hope to encourage a genuine pursuit of Christ that’s defined by what He did and said, not by cultural trends or religious traditions. I don’t know how well I’ll do that, but that’s my aim.
So welcome to Raw Christianity. I pray that what’s written here will always represent the teaching and the passion of our Savior.