I don't know, nothing makes me cringe and want to run away faster than someone trying to sell me something. As if my life is some how not complete unless I try their "one of a kind" product and I am going to get no where in life without it and I'm going to die and go to hell unless I get that product or close to it. Sadly, this is how I feel we market "Christ" and we seem to think we can sell him faster if we could just get people in the doors to our own church. Then they could see how awesome we are and how holy we live and how perfect life can be if they just do A,B & C and say it's from the heart, they can get eternal life. And then we wonder why when so & so went down to the altar, they didn't change much in their life and then go back to their "old" ways fairly easily.
I'll tell you why: It's because the "hype" of the sales pitch wears off and then they are back to square one. They've just been sold this product and told if they do A,B,C earnestly things will be different for them and they will have to fight their flesh and then they will have this "monumental" breakthrough if they keep on and DEFINETLY keep going to church because that's where the breakthrough mostly will happen and if your pentecostal (which I am) it will def happen in the prayer line. But then so & so wakes up the next day and they're still gay, addicted to porn, self-medicating with food, drugs and any form of entertainment that keeps us from being conscious (or christianese word: prayful) and then wonder what's wrong with them. Did they not love Jesus like everyone else or are they inherently worse than everyone else at the church because most people in the church seem just dandy and strong in their relationship with Jesus. Do you see the monotonous ideas that just keep recycling over and over and expecting different results, or am I the only one? You do know that's the definition of insanity.
To be honest. I don't invite people to church. I don't have to. I don't want to "sell" Jesus to people. I hate selling stuff. I suck at it. And lately I've become aware of the similar sales pitches I see with preachers. Some speak about their church more than about Jesus and that troubles me. I slightly cringe at it. Why? Because at one point, I loved Jesus but wanted nothing to do with the church and sometimes I feel myself simontanously wanting to awkwardly moon walk away from Christians and their Christian culture war discussions while wanting to jump in when Jesus is mentioned because I loooove talking about him!! He is so interesting but I'm afraid our formulated sales pitches to get to him have made him a regular familiar staple that is found mostly in our discussions pertaining to our own churches more than him and his character.
Or I find Christians who believe in Jesus but he is rarely ever brought up in their conversations but they make it a point to tell you that they do go to church and avoid certain things that make them seem like a faithful Christian but talking about Jesus is such a hot button because they see Jesus strictly as this one picture and get nervous if anyone tries to paint him in a different light; other than the way they've been brought up, because well they were one of the only ones that were "lucky" enough to be brought up in this certain way and since the rest of the world doesn't know this Jesus, well, they're probably just all going to go to hell anyways. So why talk about him. And I can't blame them for not wanting to share this Jesus with the rest of the world too because this Jesus doesn't seem to have much Hope for people anyways.
And I don't like the Jesus that is a by-product of our church attendance. He's too churchy for me. And I'm sorry, I don't read about him in the gospels AT ALL!! I read about a loving beyond our understandings, revolutionary: breaking apart our cultural norms of religion and politics. Someone that didn't quite quote every scripture in it's entirety unless it pointed to him (Luke 4:18-19. He reads Isaiah 61 but stops before the vengeance part. He's not about vengeance.). He encouraged other average Joe kinda misfits like me to not follow the systems of the world. Political and religious were constantly critiqued by him because they ALWAYS fell short of the kingdom he wanted us to know, with the kind of love he was willingly ready to display.
A Love that's not understood in binary in and outs but one that leaves room for each one of us to come to God in our own way. For everything that flows through Love, everything good and wholesome is from Him. Sacred and secular joined to together. Flesh becoming Holy. Sweat becoming joyful, suffering becoming blessing.
And when our hearts aren't formulating what Christ looks like we go to formulations with our mouths but since our hearts aren't alined with Him, we don't know what He looks like. So we do what comes natural. We revert to a scared, fearful, controlling state that wants to scare people into coming to know Christ and by scarying them into believing that THAT is the essential reason why Christ came: to save us from Hell Fire and our sins which can destroy our lives unless we clease ourselves of our evils.
To me this is a false gospel preached more out of fear than out of Love for God. It "sells" the gospel to a short wimpy version of Christ. Selling him just shy as a way to live a better life and give you a great life afterwards. Only we don't live very much of better lives than most people. Heck, I know unbelievers who would help me in a time of need waaaay before some of my believer friends would and sadly I can give you plenty of examples of that. Oh, but don't worry most of my believer friends don't cuss so they're good as gold. How did it come to that?
Well the gospel has now became about us, our personal relationship and a way for "us" to get to Heaven. It's about Us not Them. But Jesus doesn't say that. He says it's about Them! Not you and then them if they are lucky. It's about them! And the extent we need to go for them (them including everyone and enemies as a whole) should be being Jesus to them. How do we be Jesus? We lay down our lives for the ones who hate us and call them our friends. We're servants to the world and we become a light unto the world (not a light just for our church).
A very simple analogy of the power of Love and the light it gives off. Light can not be contained. It is present in darkness and those in the darkness are drawn to it……without a sales pitch! No need for one of those. If you need one of those somethings not right in the one doing the pitch. Light doesn't have to be sold to someone in the darkness they can see it shinning without words. And Jesus said you will be known by that light and that light is what will set you apart.
And seriously surrendering to this light is no easy task. One week I was "tested" to actually practice what I preach all the time and that practicing included: not getting angry when others talked about me, argued with me, and tried to defame my character. (It was a crazy week.) Anyways to be in a constant loving mindset when others around me were wanting to argue and chose sides, had me exhausted every night like I had ran a marathon or something. I was drained physically from the toll the spiritual had on me and mostly it was probably me fighting my own ego in all this. I kept having to stuff it down and show God's love and my ego did not like that! It wanted to fight, and to show everyone else around me how wrong they were and how right I was but I knew doing that was just not God-like, it was flesh like and I know now had I subjected to that it would've blown everything out of proportion and maybe even destroyed lots. But learning to be subjective to the Spirit of Love, I seen it's healing power first hand in this situation and to me it was miraculous. It cleared out all the negativity, united everyone and brought a sense of peace to the situation. It wasn't me doing the healing, it was Him.
Afterwards and even before this situation, other non-religious folks are drawn to the light that I try to possess most days. I don't have to sell church but people always ask where I go. I give love freely and the Love Spirit calls them. It's that easy. Others see the uncontrolled life I messily live and they want it too for some reason. They come, they ask the questions, we get in fun discussions about what I love to talk about the most: Jesus. Don't sell church, you don't need to. Just love, and have Faith the rest will follow.