The Make-Shift Christian

25 03 2008

We’ve lived in the shadow of Chicago for about 5 years now. Let me just say that this is one kerwhaloping of a windy area. They say that Lake Michigan has a lot to do with this. All I know is that on rare days when it isn’t windy, it feels like the whole world is standing still.

Today is an especially windy day. Walking across the open lot between my church and my house, I was nearly blown over. If I were wearing a wig, it would be plastered to a wall somewhere in Ohio by now. You might say, “Well Greg, that’s why they call it the windy city.” But actually, it’s not.

There are other major cities that are windier than Chicago. But this frozen tundra of a city became know as windy thanks to the extreme statements being made to woo the world’s fair here over a century ago. Perhaps much as is happening today with attempts to lure the Olympics, the spinners were in high gear telling great tales of how spectacular things were. We chicago world's fair ferris wheelnormally just attribute illusions of grandeur to Texans, but Chicagoans competed in their own right to win the great exposition. In fact, the stories were so massive, it was said that the tellers were quite windy. Hence, Chicago became known as the windy city.

The problem with weaving great tales is that you eventually have to lie down in the blanket you’ve created. And sometimes it’s itchy and scratchy.

So it is with so many “Christians”. Our outer confidence belies our inner pain. In trying to build ourselves up, we create make-shift structures that are extremely susceptible to the winds of life. Make-shift Christians aren’t much removed from non-believers who build their lives, as Christ once alluded, on sand. The only sure mooring for any of us is in a life built slowly, surely and steadily in fellowship with Jesus. Prayer and scripture reading aren’t just good ideas. They’re tools that create structures that are firm.

Our inclination is to build up and build high. Just look at our big cities. Just look at our monuments. It occurs to me that we are still building the Tower of Babel. Unlike the great sky-scrapers we build, we forget that height is also about depth.

A Christ-follower, on the other hand, digs deep down. We find our footing, good grounding, and build from there. Some will build high, some will simply be ranch-style structures. But these slowly, intentionally laid blocks are made to last for an eternity. Make-shift Christians may look impressive, but they’re quick to fall. Those who go deep into the Word, deep into a life of prayer, deep into worship and deep into the many other facets of spiritual formation find that our shingles may tear away, but the house stands firm.

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