We have an authenticity problem. Maybe it’s because nothing is built to last anymore, or the cheese we grew up on doesn’t even melt. Either way you slice it, we desire authenticity, but I don’t know what “authenticity” means. I just read a few blog posts about authentic Christianity, and they’re all operating from different definitions of authenticity. It seems like authenticity is a…

…Codeword for:

Messy. I’ve seen this one quite a lot. Anecdotally it seems authenticity can be a codeword for messy. And it’s often romanticized. Hey, my kitchen is messy too, but I don’t feel compelled to write a 1000 word blog post about its authenticity and how by cleaning it I’d be conforming to an Old Testament social construct of good housekeeping made irrelevant by the Cross. In all fairness, I get it. Life’s messy on the good days, and if not for grace, my mess would overwhelm me (seriously, I made Italian a couple nights ago and I’m still finding tomato sauce). But I’m not sure romanticizing the mess is helpful.

Edgy. Like my ink, bro? Tetelestai. You’ve probably never even heard of Koine. All the dudes from my Beer, Bibles, and Bros community group got matching ink. I do love me some Greek tattoos, so no argument there. But strictly speaking, let’s use the right word, and authentic isn’t it.

Honesty and/or Confession. WYSIWYG Christianity. It’s hard to be honest about deep dark struggles, especially in a church with a clean suburban veneer. There’s almost a peer pressure to be awkwardly honest about your edgy mess of a self. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but maybe not everything should be broadcasted in your home group?

Restorationism. I hate to break it to my millennial brothers and sisters, but past generations have desired to return the wayward church to a more authentic New Testament state. It’s quite common. Sometimes they’re right. Sometimes they just want to ban drums.

Brothers we are not hipsters…

(Two Piper references in one blog post? How many Piper references does this guy have?)

Authenticity is en vogue as a marketing fad right now. Deep down we all desire a level of authenticity. That’s why it works. I enjoy authentic relationships with close friends. I want authentic Mexican food. I want authentic Christianity, and Christian authors have happily obliged me with a plethora of material on the subject.

It’s my messy, edgy, honest authenticity I need saving from. I’m authentically up a creek in my authentic sin if not for an authentically perfect Savior. When you invoke “authentic,” I don’t really know what you mean. It could be messy, edgy, honesty, we’re about to confess some stuff and hug it out, or some form of restorationism. But what I want to do is forget about how authentically awesome I am in my authenticity and focus on Jesus. Maybe focus less on me, and more on the Gospel. Just a thought. What’s yours?

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