You think you’re a Christian, but you may be just pretending.
That’s what blogger Jarrid Wilson says in his new book “Jesus Swagger: Break Free from Poser Christianity.” He claims that there is an epidemic among Christians of fake faith and cosmetic religion. Here we discuss his ideas and what he suggests is the solution to this spiritual malady.
RNS: What is “poser Christianity” and how is it “rewarded” today?
JW: Poser Christianity is when someone lives with a façade that their faith is legit and true. This is an epidemic in today’s society. It’s wrongly rewarded by people around the world, praising individuals who create a “religious” outer shell, but have yet to allow the message of Jesus to transform them on the inside. The answer is to be renewed as a true follower of Jesus rather than just pretending to be one.
RNS: You say poser Christians call themselves Jesus followers but don’t live like Jesus. But doesn’t everyone fall short of Jesus’ standards? Isn’t being a poser, to some degree, inevitable for everyone who attempts the Christian life?
JW: Pursuing a life after Jesus but falling short of perfection, and posing as a Christian are two completely different things. Anyone who calls themselves a Christian can expect to eventually fail, no matter how good they think they are. Failure is inevitable, but posing is preventable. How? Walking by faith and not by sight and fixating ourselves on the message of Jesus rather than relying on our own strength and wisdom to get through life.
RNS: Much of mainstream Christianity–especially in the Western white church–has taken on a look (skinny jeans and graphic tees), sound (anything resembling Chris Tomlin), and smell (fair trade coffee aroma and a whiff of a concert-grade of machine, please). Are these cosmetic expressions of Christianity a problem in your opinion?
JW: I’m sure Chris Tomlin is an incredible dude, but I have yet to own any of his albums or stream them on any of my devices. Sorry, Chris! While I do agree that mainstream Christianity has adopted some unique styles and identifying factors, I wouldn’t say that I’ve adopted any of these in order to fit in. I don’t see any of these cosmetic expressions of Christianity a problem, as long as people don’t make these things the foundation in which they build their faith upon.
RNS: Let’s get practical. What can churches do to stop being posers?