One of my core values is authenticity. I believe with all my heart that God loves each of us just the way we are. He delights in us as we are, not as we think we ought to be. He winces when we try to be someone else. (But it's a wince ensconced in a smile.) Be you.
1 Samuel 17 records one of the most popular stories in the Bible, the story of David and Goliath. The story is full of powerful life lessons like trusting in God and taking a stand for God no matter what the odds. Yesterday, I heard someone draw an application from that story I'm not sure I had ever noticed before. Before the battle, King Saul tries to dress David, who, remember is just a little boy, in Saul's armor. But it doesn't fit. David stumbles around in the oversized, ill-fitting helmet and armor in a scene that has Abbott and Costello all over it and finally concludes he can't do battle in somebody else's armor. David's discovery is true for all of life: don't try to do life in somebody else's armor. It's exhausting and futile (and sometimes comical) trying to be someone you're not. Be you. Be authentic.
So it's ironic and somewhat troubling that the first post in my blog is inauthentic. I didn't write it. But my blog says I did. Let me explain. There it is, in my first post, right underneath the words "Test Post" in deceptive gray letters: POSTED BY PASTOR JIM. Let me come clean right off the bat with a confession: I had writer's block for my first post and a ghostwriter actually ended up writing that two word first post. There I said it. I don't want to start my much belated foray into the world of blogging going against one of my core values. So I'm using this, my second post, to come clean. Confession is good for the soul. I feel authentic. For now.
I believe authenticity is essential for Christ-followers. But it raises a question: if the mission of our church is "leading people in the adventure of becoming like Christ" how does that fit with authenticity? If the core of our mission is trying to help people be like someone else, i.e. Jesus, is "authentic Christ-follower" an oxymoron? Tell me what you think.