Right now I’m reading the apocryphal book of “Ecclesiasticus, or the Wisdom of Jesus Son of Sirach.” For all of its wordy and self-important title, I find this book to be drab. Today’s passage was concerned with etiquette while at banquets and how to exercise proper restraint while drinking wine as if that was the end all and be all of morality. Boring.
Unfortunately, much of modern Christianity harps on platitudes like these, pretending that they represent some greater ethical Truth. “Good Christian boys wash their hands before they eat.” Actually, I think Jesus wasn’t all that concerned with how clean you are before you eat (see Mark 7). Or, when somebody dies, “well, he was a good person, so he’s in heaven now” (check out John 14).
Many modern Christians adhere to what scholars call “Moralistic Therapeutic Deism.” MTD essentially says that God created the world and wants us to be happy, that we don’t need to ask God for anything unless things get bad, and that good people go to heaven. This isn’t Christianity; this is a way to feel good about yourself.
True Christianity looks beyond these platitudes and is centered upon a life: Jesus Christ. Christians want to lead holy lives, not for the sake of being nice, but for the sake of Gospel. Christianity should make us uncomfortable, it is not be all about being nice to one another and believing that “good people go to heaven.”
Christianity is about following Jesus. Lord knows that the Lord wasn’t nice all the time.