Are you a Christian Poser? Jarrid Wilson asks that question in his new book “Jesus Swagger: Break Free from Poser Christianity” (Thomas Nelson 2015). Of course the answer for most of us is a resounding “NO!” that is, until we think about it a little more deeply.
Swagger, like so many other words has different meaning depending on how you use it. And Jesus Swagger is no different. Some of the swagger leads to posing. We all know people who do the apparent right things: they’re in church every Sunday, they memorize bible verse, they try to stay out of trouble, they wear the crosses and the tee shirts, and they have the bumper stickers. To the casual observer they must be a hardcore core Christian. But are they really following Christ, or are they just posing?
This book is a battle call to Christianity. Loving God AND loving your neighbors. It’s a reminder that Jesus was all about equality, about healing the sick, about caring for the hungry, and commitment. We might say we want to do it, but…. My heart broke as I read the example (pg 70-72) of a visit to a church that was talking about growth, reaching people, loving people and working with the homeless. There was even reserved seating for special people. The marginalized group that the pastor wanted to work with were ‘invited’ to sit off to the side, away from the rest of the congregation. Probably an extreme example, but how often do we, perhaps unintentionally, do similar things?
The 5th chapter reminds us that “Jesus is hiring part-time disciples”. He wants us to commit, to be on mission wherever we are, whatever we’re doing. Not everyone is called to fulltime professional ministry, but wherever we are, at school or in the workplace, at work or at play, at the grocery store or the laundromat we are called to live out and display our faith and our belief in the salvific power of the gospel. This is a call to be the change that the world needs, and a reminder that to love Jesus is to follow Jesus.
Along the way there are some fun things to ponder. Lists like “8 differences between a believer and a follower” (p 9), “5 ways to get closer to God” (p36) and “6 ways to have a lukewarm relationship with God” (p 38).
I have to admit that for me the book started slowly; but it rapidly picked up the pace. It’s a fun read, and has lots of good reminders of what it is that we signed up for. But be prepared, you’ll be challenged to evaluate your relationship with the Christ, and you might even realize that you’ve been posing long enough and that it’s time to get serious!
I received this book from the published in exchange for my review.