The Church of Dave Chappell

July 2015: Featured Post is featuring a thought-provoking essay that is designed to stimulate healthy dialogue and a collective resolve to seek the face of God for answers of some of the most pressing issues of our age. Your participation and feedback is very important to us and we encourage you to leave your comments, facebook or tweet this post after reading. Dave Chappelle

I went to a Dave Chappell show recently and of course, you are not sure what he will say. The only thing you can be sure of, at least in my eyes, 80% of it will be funny, the 20% will be meant to offend. Like many of his predecessors, he aims to make social commentary while making us laugh. For what it’s worth, no pun intended, he does a great job at doing both.

But, he said one thing that really struck me and it could not be overlooked. While shadow boxing with the audience, jabbing us with his humor, Dave punched us in the gut with, “Christianity is just like Whitney Houston, it sounds good but one day it’s going to end up dead in the bathtub.” Of course most of the audience groaned out a laugh. The show continued on with more laughs and thankfully, no banana peels, but his statement stayed with me.

I started thinking, maybe Dave has a valid criticism. Not that Christ’s crucifixion, death, and resurrection could eventually be ineffective, but culturally, in America, what Christianity is, could lose its effectiveness.

To borrow wisdom from my dear friend T. Simpson, “Christianity has become more about appearances than actual transformation and deliverance.” And so often churches around the nation have been the first on the scene but have also announced when the red light was on that they were on the scene.

As a cultural entity, Christianity has done very good things around the world. Feed the homeless, provide shelters, built hospitals and schools, and appropriated what is now, the greatest holiday ever. Sounds good.

But we have also made to some effect, Christ’s church, ineffective by incorporating things that are flashy but no substance. We have conferences and concerts with lights, smoke machines, lasers, and the like that it is more entertainment than it is about God. But in the midst of all of that, some people have been lost to who Christ really is and what the purpose of the church is. The mature, who are very small in number, can embrace it as worship and praise. The rest see it as just another event or something else sociable. That leads to disgruntled people like Dave who can say what he said.

If you allow me to go to the Bible, “do not by your eating, destroy someone for whom Christ died. Therefore do not let what you know is good be spoken of as evil” (Romans 14: 14-15). That is what the culture of Christianity has allowed to happen. We have put on a great show and from the spoils of it, we have poisoned ourselves.

So what is the answer to this problem? One is, decide that being a follower of Christ is not [just] a lifestyle, it’s the way, and I mean the way of life. Back in the ancient times, if you put on a cross that meant you were marked as a criminal for life. The cross was not a light thing, it was serious and if you were scheduled to be crucified, whatever you did to receive that punishment you did that knowing full well it would have consequences.

So in that, we have to live with purpose. We have to reach out to the world and to our brothers and sisters, cameras or not, and say that we put them ahead of ourselves. We will always have critics and cynics but when we show genuine love, we can rise out of that bathtub, referenced during Chappell’s performance, and be who are supposed to be, servants not divas.

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