This blog post originally appeared on Latasha Strachan's personal blog latashastrachan.com and is being shared this week via The Journey.
I woke up several weeks ago with a revelation, a realization, if you will. I looked myself in the mirror and I had to make a confession. I'm not good for the brand. I'm the player you may want to sideline. I'm the employee who basically lives on probation. I'm not the poster child. I'm not the brand rep. And I am happy.
Here's what I've found: A commercial Christian, (ie. a Christian whose words, actions, and public disposition are constructed specifically to convey a safe and largely homogeneous image, so as not to hurt the 'brand' of Christianity) is stressed out, maxed out, unsure of who she is, and probably not very happy. As Christians we have gone from being a movement, to being a religion, to being a brand, and I'm no good at sales. Somewhere in my Christian experience I stopped trying to represent Jesus and started trying to represent what people think a 'Christian' is.
Why did I do that? I did it largely because as a younger believer I did not know the difference between being what people thought a Christian should be and actually being a Christian. I can do a long-form essay on my struggles with conformity in the church, but to abbreviate, being what people think you should be (even in church) always means following people, being a Christian means following Jesus. Depending on what the local flavor is in your town or city it might mean you wear your hem so long that you're gonna fall and hit your face every ten steps, or it may mean that you never get angry, loud, or otherwise ruffled - never ever ever! There are as many flavors of commercial Christianity as there are McDonald's around the world, but I'm not a commercial Christian.
I'm a woman who follows Jesus, nothing more, nothing less. Some women follow him with blood trailing behind them. Some follow with poor reputations hounding them. Some follow with four children and no husband in sight. Some follow with nothing but the clothes on their back and the wind in their hair, but nothing matters because it's Jesus. It's Jesus!!!!!
I can't promise any church or ministry team that I am 'brand worthy'. I may truly not be the one to put out front, the one to shine the bright lights on, because my flaws are grand and possibly distracting, but from back here, in the cool of the shadow of the Savior, I can see my narrow path, the one that leads to salvation. From back here, I can hear the voice of the Shepherd, recognize my name and fulfill my calling. From back here, I can see that the brand is failing us terribly, but Jesus never fails.
That is what my walk with God is folks. I am NOT a commercial Christian.
PS. Thank you to all the brilliant, beautiful, authentic women I met last weekend at She Speaks, women like Ann, Trish, Hope, and so many more whom I am just beginning to reach out to and call my friends. I am especially grateful for the testimonies of Jill Savage, who lit my heart up :), and Suzie Eller; both affirmed my commitment to just follow Jesus all over the place and never ever settle for being a commercial Christian.
If you are committed to following Jesus, just being YOU and NOT a commercial Christian, please give me a digital fist bump by leaving a comment :)