Checking Your Baggage
I have baggage.
I have fundamentalist Baptist baggage, as in I used to be one. Basically what this means is that every time I sense legalism or elitism in Christianity, I get angry and defensive, and usually sarcastic.
Oh, and I have poor self-image baggage--hence the sarcasm. What this means is that sometimes I use sarcasm to mask my feelings of inadequacy and to make me feel better about myself.
I have baggage when it comes to dealing with certain people because they remind of other certain people that I just can't stand to deal with...
I have baggage when it comes to being wrong, as in I don't like to be wrong and when I am wrong, I tend to internalize it and beat myself up for being wrong.
I have some serious baggage.
We all do, but most of don't really talk about our baggage much.
And we definitely don't talk about it in church.
I created a website for my new sermon series for Lent. The sermon series is called "Baggage: The Things that We Carry." The website is HERE. I capitalized those letters so that you would click on them. I hope it worked. When you go to that page you will see some answers to a question I asked about things that are impossible to talk about in church. It will sober you a bit to read them. It did me.
And that's only the tip of the iceberg.
My sermon this week is from Romans 6. The Apostle Paul wrote this letter in the 1st century to a group of people who needed some instruction on what it meant to live into the hope of new life in Jesus Christ.
This is what he said... in a nutshell.
1. Jesus died to provide freedom from the tyranny of sin and death.
2. Those who begin stumbling after Jesus are actually by some mysterious God-ordained way in Christ--which means they share in the life, death, burial and (can I get a witness?) resurrection of Jesus.
3. Nothing of sin's old regime has any power over Jesus
4. And because Christians are in Christ, nothing that smacks of sin or death has any power over them either.
Funny. Most Christians don't get that.
They think that Jesus died so that they could build really big monuments (church buildings) to commemorate their success and to "leave a legacy." They think that Jesus died so they could pat themselves on the back because they are going to heaven and everyone else isn't. They think Jesus died to create Christian radio stations, t-shirts, bracelets, wall art and crap to stick on the back of your car.
But that's not why Jesus died (See #1 in the earlier table). Jesus died so that there would be freedom from sin and death and when he was raised from the dead on Easter morning--he proved it worked.
None of our baggage, our shame and our hurt has any power over us if we are in Christ. It's time we took away the power we have given these heavy bags by setting them down, opening them up and tossing out the contents. If the Christians who populate the inside of churches actually did this together, it would look like...
At least the church as God intended.