If you haven’t read about he carnage that was Fyre Festival, here are some good articles to start with:
In short, people didn’t get what they paid for. A musical festival held in tropics, promising to be the experience of a lifetime became exactly that – the experience of a lifetime, but in all the wrong ways. Comfortable rooms turned out to be refugee tents, five-star catering crumbled into cafeteria-style ham sandwiches, and the musical stars were absent.
People fell for the hype. They believed the façade spread across social media, and handed over their money over for something that didn’t exist.
Part of me wants to write about the lure of this world, how it presents us with a false hope that only turns up empty. But I think that’s the clearer route, and I’m sure another Christian writer can create that piece beautifully.
I want to talk about something that’s a little murkier. Something that I think a lot of Christians feel, but don’t talk about. The false hope of Christianity.
Let me explain.
Growing up I heard a lot of sermons, and prayed the prayer of salvation as many times as I’ve seen the movie Mrs. Doubtfire (at least 40). Throughout this time, I was told that Jesus was going to transform my life for the better. That if I accepted him, my life would get better and that I could become a part of his family, the church, which was a bunch of people who had amazing lives because of Christ.
So I did, I signed up. Raised my hand, received prayer and baptism. Volunteered and put money in the tithing bowl. But none of it looked like I thought it would, like they said it would.
My life didn’t magically transform overnight. The people in church didn’t have it all together, and some of them weren’t even that friendly. I was confused and over time that confusion grew into something more.
My confusion turned into justification…maybe I’m not doing it right, but if I just keep doing what they’re saying it’ll all work out.
When it didn’t work out, my justification turned into disillusionment…maybe this isn’t as good as I thought, maybe this is all Christianity really is.
Disillusionment dissolved into doubt…maybe none of this really matters, maybe none of this is real.
Doubt is a terrifying place to be. People get doubt wrong – they think people who are doubting just give up on believing. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Doubt is like that moment when you’re swimming and the water gets just an inch too deep, or it takes just a second too long to come up for air – you panic. No one stops moving at the point, they move more. They struggle, they reach, they push. True doubt incites action.
And it was from this place of doubt where hope began to sprout. Hope that what I had experienced was not the end-all, be-all of what it meant to follow Jesus. That Jesus’ version of Christianity had so much more to offer. That maybe I hadn’t been sold a false sense of goods. They’d just been delivered in the wrong package.
The Fyre Festival crumbled for a host of reasons. But what it came down to is that those in charge failed to build what they wanted to be a part of.
The church has experienced the same failure, and I know I am just as guilty. We have failed to BE the Christians we want to be a part of. Those of us in the stages of discovering (or rediscovering our faith) must not expect to show up and have the festival of our dreams already in operation. If we are to find a beautiful Christianity, then we must be the ones who build it.
(Photo Source: Twitter)