I love broccoli. For as long as I can remember I liked broccoli. I imagine it is because I grew up with broccoli as one of the many vegetable members of my family. Our family ate (and still does) pasta with anything. But, broccoli is special. It’s in the top five great pasta pairings IMO. I also know that not everyone out there loves broccoli – some people don’t eat it, won’t even taste it! I can’t even imagine! And then there are those that didn’t think they were going to like it, maybe even afraid to try it because it looked weird, but after that first taste and then discovering what a wonderful accompaniment it serves, they grew to like it and actually enjoy it regularly – even on purpose! I think most people fit into this category. We need to get over some kind of fear, ignorance or prejudice to make that first move, to give something a chance. But, once we do we often learn that our fears where misplaced, and that fear may have kept us from fulfilling our lives in some way. I can’t think of my life without broccoli.
So, what is keeping people from trying Christ? (You knew that’s where we were going, right?) I mean, if Christianity is being sold as a religion of love, peace of mind, equality and eternal bliss, what is there to be afraid of? Why aren’t there millions flocking to sign up every day? As followers of Christ (and unlike broccoli) we were given something that should sell itself – right? How have we managed to screw that up? Even worse, a lot of non-believers consciously avoid any mention of Christ; shun it like a stomach virus or a punch in the jaw. (While we Christians have learned that anyone that would meet Jesus personally would do just the opposite.) What is motivating them to respond in this way? Some of you might know what I’m talking about. There are some people that you may know all of your life, whom with you have gone through every possible high and low point, people that would trust you with their children, but one mention of Christ or Christianity immediately has them looking at you like a total stranger. And, not only a stranger, but a stranger that is looking to rob them of everything that they call ‘holy’.
What is it about sticking our toe into the waters of a relationship with God that has some of us very defensive? Could it be the unknown, the uncertainty? Some unwilling to even give the change a try, so sure that what we have is as good as we can get, or so afraid that we might lose the little we do have. In a chapter of Rediscover Jesus by Matthew Kelly, I read something that begins to explain the phenomena in the context of why most Christians don’t study the Bible as we should:
“…But in a deeply subconscious way, the explanation for why we don’t read the Bible is deeply profound: We know the word of God has the power to transform our lives, and the uncomfortable, unspoken and often-avoided truth is that we don’t want our lives transformed. Be honest. Do you want God to completely overhaul your life and totally transform you?”
And even though I count myself as one of the millions of Christians who have claimed Christ as my savior, this fear still persists. But now the fear is not so much getting in the water as much as it is in putting my head under and opening my eyes. Transformation scares the crap out of me. I’m guilty of what most Christians are: selective commitment: ‘I’ll do this but I’m not willing to do that. I’ll give this but I’m not willing to let go of that.’ Mr. Kelly sums it up perfectly:
“…We pray for tweaking—and then we wonder why God doesn’t answer our prayers. The reason is simple: God is not in the business of tweaking. He’s in the business of transformation.”
But thankfully God knows the fear we have. He’s given us wonderful examples to teach us the good that transformation brings: our birth being one – transformed from cell to embryo, to fetus to baby. Ahhhhh, to be born again; born again, and this time to our creator’s true purpose. This is what our fear is keeping us from.