Christianity and the Cult of Winning
"Christianity is for losers," said no one in a 21st-century mega-church.
From the music, to the branding, to the hipster pastor, modern day Christianity is all about winning.
Winning at work, winning at home, winning against the devil.
Pastors and leaders talk about God "showing up," or God "blessing" their ministry endeavor whenever there is a big crowd or a large turnout, whenever giving is high and results are big, anytime their church or ministry is trending on Facebook or Twitter.
These days, it seems like Christianity is more of a lifestyle brand than a religion. Oh, that's right, it's a relationship, not a religion, as they say.
And, maybe that's an important point.
In our modern world, we judge relationships based on status and accomplishments; the Instagram worthy couple, the couple with the big house and nice cars, the couple with great kids - surely they're doing great in life and in their relationships because based on all the external metrics, they're clearly winning at life.
So, we're sort of encouraged to do the same thing with our faith. The problem is that the Bible is full of losers. People who were never successful, never really won at anything, and suffered through long and painful tragedies.
Oh, and lest we forget, Jesus
Remember, the Apostle Paul wrote in Philippians 2 that Jesus lost everything? Now, I know what you're going to say, "God highly exalted him," because of his sacrifice, and that the wealth and status of so many Christians today is because of their faithfulness. Essentially, they've "won" their life of faith. Maybe.
But, I sometimes wonder if we've succumb to the devil's temptation of Jesus to have fame and honor, as if that was something really worth achieving.
Rather, I look at the life of the Apostle Paul, someone willing to lose again and again for the sake of Jesus.
I'm not saying we need to be poor, wretched, unpopular losers. But, I do think it would do us some good to pause and consider for a moment whether "winning" is really what Jesus calls us to do?
If you ask me, I think we could use a lot more "losers."