Being Christian Today


As Christian persons and families, it is not easy in these times to live Gospel values in a coherent way. We live in a dominant culture that embraces other values that are sometimes anti-values such as consumerism, hedonism, and selfishness from thousand faces. Words like effort and discipline have lost much of their meaning in large sectors of society where the erroneous but no less widespread idea of having only rights and not obligations reigns.

In the midst of this panorama many Christians live somewhat anesthetized or "bewitched" as if they were living in an amusement park. The consequence of this "offer of happiness" is that they become comfortable in life, they have no great ideals and do not exercise any responsibility or commitment in the field of social volunteering, for example. Even more serious is that many people eventually become "lost sheep", wandering around the world, frantically searching for meaning in life precisely where there is none, obsessed with filling the void they feel inside in a career that is going nowhere.

It is time to leave this decaffeinated Christianity in which we are installed. We must open our eyes as Jesus Christ opens the eyes of the blind in the Gospel and we must discover the great gift of the Gospel and all the Word of God that governs life well and puts us on the path of the values of the Kingdom of God, the path of justice and peace, accepting Christ's invitation to follow Him. This Word of God reveals to us the many reasons for conversion and the struggle for justice and peace in this world so divided and wounded by injustices of any kind. A philosopher from India (Krishnamurti) observed almost a century ago and a few years after the Russian Revolution that the only revolution possible today is the revolution of conscience. Among the many things that the Gospel brings, it is precisely this revolution of the mind or personal and community conversion what the world today needs. This is an unprecedented and peaceful revolution that excludes no one and sets us in motion, encourages us not to passively accept the reality of so much human misery, the consequence of personal and social sin. No doubt many Christians yearn in the depths of their hearts for the vital need to put into practice a new or renewed following of Christ, but they often restrain themselves like the rich young man in the Gospel. The ever more faithful and deepening following of Christ will nevertheless remove selfishness, injustice, meaninglessness and pride from our lives; it will fill the emptiness we so often feel and make us freer and happier. A freedom and happiness that many do not understand, even ridicule or fight, because they are tied to the offer of happiness mentioned above and they are obfuscated by false progressivism.

Instead of having a lukewarm, indecisive, passive to the point of superficiality and morally indifferent Christian life, with no serious references other than self-reference that produces an effect that the French writer Georges Bernanos describes as "settling comfortably under the cross of Christ," true discipleship will eliminate this duality of being on two sides and "serving two masters" (cf. Mt. 6:24). Do we want to be visibly salt and light in society (cf. Mt 5:13-16) with all its consequences or do we want to be more "pseudo-Christians" who live hidden in the comfort zone "without perceiving the reasons for fighting and even not knowing if we have to fight" (Albert Camus)?

Being Christian today above all means realizing in depth the demands and the beauty of the following of Christ, entering into a process of conversion and actively contributing to the building of a civilization of love.

Ton Broekman, Justice and Peace Diocese of Palencia, CGJP advisor