Cheers rippled through the crowd as the MC announced the concert’s opening with a holler: “WE’RE HERE BECAUSE WE LOVE JESUS!”. Really? I was under the impression this massive gathering was the result of a well-planned, heavily-promoted, mega-Christian music event. Silly me! Somehow I couldn’t recall the promo stating, “Come out because you love Jesus”. Hey, I admit it, I came for the music. But I guess that’s not a very spiritual thing to say. Do you want to know why this really ticks me off? Because it engenders insincerity. Apparently, it’s NOT okay to come to hear a favorite Christian band, but it IS okay to “love Jesus”. I guess that makes it unspiritual to be honest, but spiritual to be fake. After all, how many would willingly stand up and dispute the claim so that their unspirituality might be made known to thousands? No, keeping your real intentions hidden has its benefits. But then, how does one resolve the obvious conflict that is sure to surface again and again? Oh, this is religion at its finest! Do you suppose my beef is actually with Christian bands, concerts, and promo? Nay, nay, not so. In this, we’re only mimicking what has been passed down to us. My real concern has to do with our everyday living. We have been taught how to live as Christians after the same patterns we learned growing up in the world. Before Christ, we had sufficient cause to hide our true selves and true motivations, but then, why does our Christian teaching give us even MORE reason to fear, instead of setting us free to be real? What if it’s because we keep regarding Christ as a religious figure instead of as being life itself, and his freedom as a destination change instead of as being a new life, and the Bible as Christian principles to live by instead of as being a testimony to the miracle of Christ’s life within? Maybe we’ve been intimidated by a bogus Christianity for far too long and have been using its magic wand to try to change the real us into a Christian us. Maybe we are afraid to be real because we are afraid the real us is inferior so we will grasp whatever gives us a boosted sense of spirituality. What if we knew this was all part of the bondage Christ came to deliver us from? And what if it turned out that the real us is NOT the old us because the old us was put to death in Christ? And what if it turned out that the real us is the life that was raised in Christ? Do you think maybe then it would be safe to be real?