Christian Mythbusters

Christian Mythbusters

Christians & Change

December 29, 2020

In this episode of Christian Mythbusters, Father Jared debunks the myth the idea that Christians never really change, a particularly important question given the upcoming New Year’s holiday. You can hear Christian Mythbusters in the Grand Haven area on 92.1, WGHN, on Wednesdays at 10:30am and Sundays at 8:50am.

The transcript of the episode is below, or you can listen to the audio at the bottom of the post.

This is Father Jared Cramer from St. John’s Episcopal Church in Grand Haven, Michigan, here with today’s edition of Christian Mythbusters, a regular segment I offer to counter some common misconceptions about the Christian faith. 

Tomorrow is New Year’s Eve, that glorious night of the year when we get to burn the candle down to the nub and wish 2020 a hearty goodbye. Of course, as was pointed out to me on social media, our new year is literally pronounced 2020-won—as in the year 2020 has won and beaten us all, but we’ll try not to think of that as we celebrate in our homes with great hopes for a much better year to come.

One of the most traditional parts of the New Year’s holiday is the obligatory New Year’s resolutions, those commitments to change parts of our lives that are made with fire and fury on December 31 and only sometimes last through the entire month of January. Now, don’t get me wrong, it’s nice to have the crowd at the gym thin out a little as the weeks of January turn into February, but there is a slight sadness I think many of us bring to the knowledge that our New Year’s resolutions rarely bring fruit we had hoped.

And yet, hope springs eternal, and so this week I’d like to try to bust the myth that Christians never change.

One of my favorite lines from the Christian artist Rich Mullins, who died several years ago, was whenever people tell him they don’t go to church because it’s full of hypocrites, he loved to respond to them, “No we’re not, we always have room for a few more.” What Rich was playfully pointing out is that no person who goes to church follows Jesus with perfect faithfulness. Rather, we commit to the Christian community because we know we need to be changed.

Now, I’ll be quick to admit that not all Christians approach the church with a desire to be changed and to be shaped after the love, mercy, and justice of Jesus Christ. Lord knows I’ve heard people tell me in my days that they didn’t feel uplifted going to my church sometimes. But as another of my favorite Christian thinkers, CS Lewis, once said, “I didn’t go to religion to make me happy. I always knew a bottle of Port would do that. If you want a religion to make you feel really comfortable, I certainly don’t recommend Christianity.”

The fundamental message of Advent that we’ve heard for the past several weeks was the call to repent, to change our lives. In the days of Christmastide, we are invited to experience the light and grace of God and to let that love change us so that we can be the body of Christ on earth. As we move toward the Feast of the Epiphany, we are invited to change from a gospel only focused on those who look like us and to ask how God is being present in those strange and far away, like the three magi of old. And, of course, in just a couple months, in the Season of Lent, we will begin with Ash Wednesday, and we will repent once more in dust and ashes.

The practice of examen, is what this is known in the spiritual traditions of the church. It is a practice best engaged in daily actually, asking yourself every day, “In what ways has my life not lived up to the call of Christ. How did I sin in what I did… or what I left undone?”