One of the most oft-repeated phrases in evangelicalism is “Christ-likeness.”
As in, “the goal of discipleship is to grow us in Christ-likeness.”
Or: “we mature in faith as we become more Christ-like.”
Or even at a memorial service: “she (or he) was one of the most Christ-like people I’ve ever known.”
And honestly, that phrase has always made me ill at ease.
In part because in even saying it I realize how far I am from living it.
But then in speaking with a friend recently, we realized together more specifically why the phrase Christ-like is so likely to fill us with discomfort.
If we really were to be Christ-like, we’d spend more time in bars.
If we really were to be Christ-like, we’d be seen on the outside of strip clubs talking to dancers and patrons alike.
If we really were to be Christ-like, we’d spend some time on the trading floor of the New York Stock Exchange.
If we really were to be Christ-like, we’d be fixtures at the local jail.
In other words, if we were to be Christ-like we’d hang around the kind of people and be seen near the kind of places where . . . and you know what’s coming . . . if we were seen by church people, they’d comment how unlike Jesus we were acting.