One thing that I have less and less tolerance for is “preacher talk”. So many times I hear a lot of grandstanding coming from the elevated platform, and then I see time and again that a lot of those things are simply said because it just “preaches well”. Sometime it’s just sickening. And many don’t even realize how destructive that “preacher talk” effect is on one’s heart. You can’t fool the built-in BS detector that humans carry inside their hearts.
After a while, when there’s no sincerity and genuineness that connects the pulpit with real life, people tend to compartmentalize all of the insincere hallelujahs, amens, praise the lords, glory to gods, and all the rest of that religious vocabulary long ago emasculated of its real meaning into a little mental box whose label reads “Church talk. Relevant Sunday mornings only, inside steepled buildings. DO NOT try this at home”.
Preacher talk is not an agent of real heart transformation. Often times it’s a cloaking device to protect our deluded hearts from the painful realization that some of us are as far from the kingdom of God as are sinners – and perhaps even farther. It’s the mouth vent of Darth Vader’s mask, filtering the beautiful reality into barely inhalable yet deeply unsatisfying words and phrases that miss people’s real hearts by a mile.
Can we just stop playing those silly games unbecoming of mature grown-ups, and simply say: “This schtick don’t work. I thought it did but it doesn’t. God, please be real in my life. I am sorry, I thought I knew you, but now I see that I was just talking about my idea of you. I want to get to know you, and then teach others how to do the same”. How’s that for prayer?
We can take off our masks any time we choose to, but our religious conditioning has taught us that God won’t like what he sees when the mask is off. He only likes looking at us when we wear the Jesus-mask. It’s like saying that someone likes sleeping with their wife when she dresses like some popular celebrity. “I desire you, honey, only when you look like Twiggy Longlegs”. Try that at home, see how far that gets you. That’s demeaning to the extreme.
No – God loves what he sees when he looks at you. He knows your every flaw, and every scar. Nothing will ever change that. Love doesn’t change with the flow of time. And Jesus is not a mask to be worn. It’s the highest summit that our innermost being can achieve. It’s something beautiful, awesome, deep, and fiercely resonant with out deepest desires.
When we are born of God, then the seeds of Jesus are planted into our hearts by God, but it’s up to us to let them grow and overtake our entire being. And then, when we and Jesus are so intertwined when it’s not even possible to tell the two apart, people will see both you and Jesus in you. Then the two become one.
And that old churchy mask will look so much like a foreign object – something you want to rip off of others and smash into a billion melting shards. So that they, too, can look at God with unveiled faces, and receive his love for who they are, and be transformed while beholding the Most Holy and the Most Beautiful Lover of their soul, who is already completely in love with them.