So, what do you think? Do Christians talk about their “spiritual practices” in grander terms than they actually practice?
Here’s what I mean.
1. Do Christians really read their Bibles? I hear a lot of talk about Bible reading, but am frequently dumbfounded by how little of it people know and how seldom they respond to life as it encourages. Plus, whenever I’ve asked church people to read something in an accountable way — like Dwelling in the Word for a year — the Christians I know balk and complain. So, do we read scripture or just like to say we do?
2. Do we give sacrificially? Sacrificial giving is at the heart of the Christian life — think Jesus on the cross — but whenever there’s a need in the church or around the world, folks tend to look to the rich people in a church. Isn’t it interesting that when giving comes up, and folks give lots of money, we think them rich rather than generous. How many of us are willing to give up something we want, or even think we need, for the sake of something or someone else?
3. Do Christians pray for each other? I’ve frequently had the experience of someone telling me they were praying for me only in later conversations to mention something about the prayer request and have them look at me quizzically. I think, “Come on!” So are those people praying, or do they think it’s more spiritual just to say their praying.
Now, I must say that I know many, many people whose lives demonstrate that the practices they speak about are internalized and lived out for the sake of the world, so some of us (or them) are the real deal, but knowing what I know from a lifetime spent around Christian people, I have to ask: Are we talking a better game?