From Duty to Delight

How many of you have seen the news about John Crist? I have to admit, I LOVED John Crist. I thought he was funny, I could relate to 99.9999% of what he said, and I could play the videos with children around. It was the best of both worlds. I’m not trying to be rude, but it’s usually rare for a Christian comedian to be as funny as a secular one. John Crist seemed to have that down.

Then the allegations broke about his sexual misconduct. And then we found out that women had been accusing him of inappropriate behavior for years, but no one listened. Shocker. Honestly, he wasn’t even trying to hide this stuff. Drinking a ton, sexting tons of women, sending graphic videos, and so forth. Truthfully, this man just hid behind the Christian culture and assumed he wouldn’t get caught.

But here’s where I’m having trouble. I’m definitely not one who idolizes Christians and thinks they are immune. In fact, some of the people responsible for hurting those I love most have been “Christians.” But, at what point do we have a responsibility to change the narrative among sexual abuse in the Christian setting? Was John Crist a pastor? No. Was he a spiritual leader? No. Did he use Christianity as an outlet to make a ton of money? Yes.

For those of us who grew up deep in the purity culture, hopefully this will make sense. How many of you remember your youth group meetings going something like this:

Girls: “Remain PURE until marriage.”, “SAVE yourself for your husband.”, “Don’t DEFILE your wedding day.”

Boys: “Once you have sex, you won’t be able to stop.” “Girls will tempt you, so don’t put yourself in a situation you will regret.”

The narrative from an early age was this……girls, don’t make yourself unclean before marriage and guys, don’t do something you can’t stop. It gave the impression for a girl that once she messed up, it was over. She was damaged. Boys were given the impression that they just couldn’t control themselves. After all, they are men for goodness sakes. Boys will be boys.

Do you remember when Paul told people to follow him, because he was following Christ so closely? He felt confident enough to tell people that if they follow him, they would essentially be following Christ. Paul followed Christ out of pure delight.

What if we followed Christ, not out of a sense of obligation, but because He had the very best for us. Because we knew His way would lead us to absolute abundance. It wouldn’t mean things would be easy, or we would be rich, or never get sick, or never experience tragedy, but simply that we would be delighting in the things of Christ.

I’ve mentioned before that I love the story of the woman at the well. I love the idea of someone feeling so discouraged and broken, but leaving with so much hope and amazement. She leaves ready to tell anyone who will listen. To me, that is the picture of pure delight. Whatever law had been imposed on her before, she had clearly not followed. She was sleeping around, living with a man, and had a terrible reputation. And yet, when she decided to follow Christ, things changed. She no longer worried about following this long list of rules and obligations. She simply followed Him.

Our Pastor said something recently that I love. He said he’s praying for us to move from duty to delight.

How amazing would it be as Christians, if our duty turned to delight. Maybe our sons wouldn’t objectify women, because Christ would NEVER objectify women. Maybe our girls wouldn’t feel pressured by society, because Christ sees them as amazing as they are. Maybe Christians would truly be transformed by delighting in Christ. And maybe, just maybe, this narrative of abuse would stop.

Kanye and Christianity

I cannot believe I’m doing this. I’m really writing about Kanye West on a blog that is primarily used to talk about adoption. I felt it happening and just couldn’t stop it.

Unless you live under a rock, you’ve seen lots of news surrounding Kanye West and his recent conversion. Before we keep going though, I feel like I should make a confession. I watch Keeping Up With the Kardashians when I see it on tv. Okay, maybe I actually turn on the tv Sunday nights at 8:00 to catch the newest episodes. In my defense, I rarely make it through an entire episode. I typically give up when I realize there is truly nothing new to keep up with.

All that being said…..his change has played out slowly on the show over the past few months. From telling Kim her dress was too revealing, to wanting to spend more time at home. The change was subtle, but there.

And then he released his first Christian album and started doing interviews on the change in his life. And shockingly, he sounded like a new man. From the rhythm in his voice, to the scripture he was quoting (accurately I might add), he seemed different.

And the world had no clue what to do. How do we reconcile a rapper who seemingly overnight gave his life to Christ? Where do we go with that?

So, we did what only we can do. Joined a camp. There was a camp that started sharing everything he said…..just daring someone to argue. And another camp that started feverishly writing articles combating this “fake” Christianity and warning against it.

And then it came out that Joel Osteen invited him to his church. And the skeptics had proven their point. What kind of truly God fearing man would head to the church of prosperity gospel? Point proven. End of story.

Never mind the fact that I must have missed the invites from the mega churches we deem “theologically sound enough” for him to attend.

I read something on Twitter the other day that made me laugh and cringe at the same time. It said, “We just need a picture of Beth Moore hugging Kanye West to break Christian twitter.”

Kanye West and I have next to nothing in common. For starters, I’m not a wealthy, African American, male rapper. But, we do have this in common. A complete life change from Jesus Christ. The kind that literally changes the direction you are on, the way you talk, the way you act, and the priorities you have. It changes you.

But, here’s the difference. I’m not famous. No one was publicly judging me. People weren’t dissecting every word I said and sorting through the validity. And, when God used our story of foster care and adoption, no one pulled out the “This must be fake.” card, or “I knew Tamra before and this is a ploy.” or “She’s only doing this for publicity”, etc. etc.

The conversion of Saul in the Bible has always been amazing to me. Just the background of Saul and the magnitude of this. For the people who grew up with Saul, this would have been confusing and miraculous all in the same breath. People were skeptical, but curious.

I’m not comparing the conversion of Saul to Kanye West. I don’t know enough of his personal conversion story to make any assumptions. But, I am saying this. Praise God I am not judged on my past. Let’s don’t elevate Kanye to a status that celebrates WHEN he fails. Because, make no mistake…..he will fail and mess up. Just like me and you. Let’s just make sure we aren’t there to cheer when he does.

Luke 15:10: “In the same way, there is joy in the presence of God’s angels, when even one sinner repents.”