Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. Matthew 7:21-23 (KJV)
Note: Thanks to pianist and songstress Alicia Keys for the inspiration for the title.
One of my favorite Alicia Keys songs was the one that shares its title with this post. Here, Alicia sang about her frustration in getting to know a young man who apparently is oblivious to her.
Today’s Fundagelical Christians are pretty much the same lot. If Jesus was here right now, he would say the same thing. I’ve learned over my 50+ years that Christianity (its evangelical variant) is a religion about Jesus; not following the teachings of Jesus. Many parade their faith in front of everyone else-especially on Facebook-instead of living it. To paraphrase 2Live Crew, they walk around saying, “Me so holy” as if the world’s going to applaud them. They talk about protecting marriage, bringing God back into (fill in the blank), running a democracy on the Ten Commandments, “family values,” and a whole host of other stuff.
However, ask one of these people about feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, referring the homeless to a warm and dry bed, protesting injustices at every level, watching our for our children, etc, and you’ll probably be greeted with silence. These are “busy” (busybody’s more like it) Christians that are flitting about like caffeine-stoked butterflies going from place to place talking about their “relationship” with Jesus. Yet these same folk are not doing the work of Jesus mentioned in the beginning of this paragraph. Like I said, they have a religion about Jesus, who’s nothing more than a name to drop and a supposed after-life insurance policy.
This is sad, because these people never took the time to know Jesus. How? By studying his words: what did the man really say? What are the “hidden things” he told his disciples about the Kingdom/Queendom of God, which-according to said Jesus-is inside us? Why dis he do what he did, risking everything including his life? The longer I live, the more I’m convinced that Fundagelical Christians are like the man in Alicia’s song: they don’t know Jesus’ name.
What is Jesus’ name? Glad you asked! Jesus is a variant of Yeshua (his Jewish name), which mean “God is salvation” in Hebrew. Now if we look at Jesus, he was the prototype of the life that God saves. Saves from what? Saves us from our (unhealthy) ego-driven lives: certainty; security; religiosity; concern with material rather than spiritual things; hatred; intolerance; and other things that have us live on a lower realm. Look at Jesus-a man who was infused with God, who was free of all the shit that we carry around and yet was still human. And that same “salvation” is offered to us today by looking to God (who is in us) and discovering who and what we truly are “in Christ”. However, we don’t want to: we’re comfortable with a God “out there” based on what the Bible says while doing busy “church work.”
In the end, many of the Fundagelicals are going to run into Jesus and will be in for a spiritual “shock” when they realize that they never took the time to know him. They will find themselves isolated and separated from him in their lives. They’ll be the ones in churches still “seeking” God, and thinking that just “having faith” is going to help them. They’ll be the ones busy “doing good.” And they’ll be asking Jesus, “Lord didn’t we (fill in the blank) in your name?” And Jesus-like Alicia Keys-will say to them:
You don’t know my name…