On a long road trip, I listened to an audio version of Zorro: A Novel by Isabel Allende. Toward the novel’s end, Zorro’s mother throws off “the weight of Christianity” and returns to her Native American ways.
What in Heaven’s name is “the weight of Christianity”?
If you’re a Christian man, you keep your hair trimmed.
If you’re a Christian woman, you grow your hair long.
You must have a daily devotional time.
You must memorize scripture.
You must tithe.
You must not go to R-rated movies.
You must not read fiction trash like Zorro.
You must be prim and proper in social settings.
You must attend church services on a regular basis.
And you must dress up when you go to church.
For sure, if you’re a Bible-believing, Spirit-filled, Jesus-loving person, you must vote for good conservative Republicans.
I’m not trying to tick people off here, so please stick with me on this one. Instead I’m trying to get into the head of Zorro’s mother (and Isabel Allende and others who hold a different worldview than me). And I’m challenging us as followers of Christ to recognize “the weight of Christianity” we often superimpose over the Gospel.
After spending time with Jericho’s chief tax collector and witnessing his conversion, Jesus had to explain to the religious conservatives, “… the Son of Man has come to seek and to save the lost.”
During his earthly ministry, the Lord had the most difficulty not with the Isabel Allendes of life who cast off “the weight of Christianity” but with the religious Tom Tarvers who added to its burden.
Just in case you were wondering …
Jesus Christ is not a conservative.
He’s not a liberal.
He’s not Protestant.
He’s not Catholic.
He’s not even Christian.
He is Lord.
Jesus Christ did not come to validate the American Dream or preserve the American Way of Life.
Nor did He come to expand the rules of the religious life and add to “the weight of Christianity”.
He came, in His own words, “to seek and to save the lost.”
I’d encourage you to drop “the weight of Christianity” and focus on two simple things—knowing Jesus Christ and making Him known to others.
In January 1972, I had a profound encounter with Jesus Christ. He changed the entire trajectory of my life—from missing life’s target to being centered in Him.
New Christian neighbors moved next door at some point after my conversion. One of the neighbors asked me a series of questions. “Were you baptized?”
“Dunked under the water?”
“What name was used?”
“What do you mean?”
“What did the preacher say when he dunked you?”
“I’m not sure.”
“Did he say, ‘… in the name of Jesus …’ or ‘… in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit’?”
“I don’t know. All I know is I have Jesus Christ in my heart.”
Not good enough. According to my neighbor …
You must be baptized by immersion.
The preacher must say, “In the name of Jesus.”
That’s “the weight of Christianity”—the add-ons that go beyond “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved …” (Acts 16:31).
I’m curious. What spiritual dead weight have you heard added to Christianity?
Jon Acuff’s “Why I don’t believe in grace”
Jr. Forasteros’ “Les Miserables: Javert and the End of Legalism”
Chris Patton’s “7 Easy Steps To Be A Missionary Where You Are”
Two men. Two eternal destinies.
One common hope.
A poignant and compelling portrayal of heaven and hell, with a powerful look at redemption from the perspective of both the lost…and the saved. Well done!–Susan May Warren, best-selling, award-winning author of You Don’t Know Me.
Tarver’s storytelling technique as he takes us along with Nick and Wayne’s journeys through opposite eternal pathways is nothing short of genius. … A must read.–Linda Rondeau, best-selling author of It Really IS A Wonderful Life
Come along with T. Neal Tarver on a roller coaster journey to the afterlife, from the bliss of heaven to the despair of hell.–Dawn Kiefer, Editor, Richland Observer
For more of what People Are Saying follow link.
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