Belief Based Avoidance

January 19, 2012

The Bible says in James 2:17 that faith without work is dead. Okay. Before you go to Jon Acuff's Blog, claiming the need for something a little less, well,  stinging, just stop for one second and think about this verse.

It is the spiritual, "Weekend At Bernie's". If you are younger than 35, you have no idea what that is a reference to. I'll sum it up. "Weekend at Bernies was a moderately funny movie in the 80's. I believe that the soundtrack may have been done by Starship. That in and of itself doomed the movie to a position in 80's trivia. The concept for the movie was simple.

Two young guys are invited to the ultimate weekend party at an exec's place. They arrive a bit early to discover that Bernie has died. Fearing that they may miss the party, they use Bernie's dead body as a prop, and the hilarity (or at least a few morbid chuckles) ensue. Inspite of the ageless nature of the film (Ray Bans and pegged jeans) most people have forgotten both the film and its sequel.

I get the same imagery when I read the verse with the exception of the dead body pinging off of every bouy in the bay, as the fellas pretend to be taking Bernie water skiing. I think that for a lot of people faith is a prop to a kind of Christian weekend party. We, because I am a Christian too, carry faith around with us, because we know we can't get into the party without it. In truth it is a nuisance. We say things that we mean but do not believe very heartily. We are secretly overwhelmed with guilt over all the stuff we are not doing. Christians have the best intention to win the world for Christ, we just aren't sure where to start.

I'm like that. I change the channel if I feel a burden or some guilt over starving children. I'm like that when a missionary speaks at my church. Honestly, most churches have stopped, or at least slowed that trend down. We don't need to feel more guilty, so we don't need to hear about a leper colony. I don't mind talking about being a real christian to my neighbors, because that means I just have to do what I'm  already doing. They will see that Jesus is for everybody because I'm just like them.

I tell people that I am going to pray and then forget their names. I carry the inactive body of faith around with me. It's pretty annoying, but it let's me take the ski boat out.

That may be why quite a few Christians claim James 2:17 as their favorite verse. It adds to the idea that we know faith. Faith, however asks to drive the boat. That not only would have killed the movie, but it is the acid test. Does faith drive me to do reckless things? Not stupid or irresponsible things, like driving 120 on the interstate, but actions that are risky... just a bit.

Faith demands that I know God's promises and then do something about it. I should give in faith. I should serve in faith. I need to pray in faith. I need to talk to my neighbor in faith.

I am feeling a little guilty right now. I'm going to go for a run. I believe that exercise is good for us.  

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