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Originally posted:  02/22/2016


When I was 20, God brought me into a new revelation of His Kingdom. It was about justice and restoration for all, it was about living for something greater than myselfand it was about an adventure with Jesus.

We sang about it with guitars around bonfires, we dreamed about living lives of purpose, and we said yesto whatever God had in store for our futures.

And all of that was goodbut then something dangerous occurred.

cultural creative girl woman hipster adventure christianityWith the advent of social media outlets such as Instagram and something commonly referred to as hipster christianity,this desire in me was armed with an arsenal of visuals; as a result, the adventure I expected was given a face, it was given clothes, and it was given a vernacular.

I was set: I knew what it would look likeit would look like Holy Spirit encounters, wild, open spaces, mountaintop sunsets wrapped in my bearded boyfriends flannel shirt. It would look like artisan everything and CS Lewis and Tolkien quoted often (and, as it turns out, mostly out of context).

It was the creative, epic, abundant life Ive always wanted, full of changing the world and sipping good coffeenay, coffee so elite you describe it like Jazz musicwhile talking about Jesus and modeling tattoos in Hebrew.

And, in case someone happened to think of it completely randomly, wed share it all through Instagram filters that made it look fresh and calculated, yet in the moment as well.

It would look like lifelife for those like me, who wanted to have an adventure with Jesus.

Not the Life I Imagined

The only thing I didnt think of was that Jesus never required flannel.

I now realize that the only thing I set myself up for was disillusionment.

The life of Adventure Christianity hasnt looked like anything I imagined.

#Jesus never required flannel. Click To Tweet

cultural creative girl airport woman brandedDont get me wrong, it is an adventureeveryday I wake up and go about the exciting journey of seeing how many ways God will ask me to die to myself throughout the day:

whether its the death of my expectations of going to graduate school abroad and becoming a well-known writer of plays and poems and justicey-things,

whether its the death of my comfort when I change bedsheets at work that are soaked with urine but have dried just enough to warrant putting my face in them to smell and make sure,

whether its the death of my timeline for dating, getting married, having kids, accomplishing the right body mass index AND my lifes purpose (leaving time to get a PhD) by the time Im 45,

whether its the death of my pride when having it all together unravels, or

whether its the constant reminder that no, this isnt what I expected but yes, I will still believe God when I receive yet another rejection email from that job/program I really wanted and audaciously let myself get excited about

This adventure that Im on feels a lot like death.

Real Life

cultural creative christianity hipster woman melancholyAnd now, I look back on this filtered structure I banked on as I pull up example after example of Instagram photos that seem to draw me into, then exclude me from, this life I used to imagine for myself.

A few things alarm me: all the pictures look the same, all the captions sound alike, and most of them model white, stylish people. It is a museum of images that, seen altogether, brands Christianity by commercializing authenticity and excluding those of us who arent there or dont have the camera quality.

I work at a domestic violence shelter part time, and as I sit with people that we serve, Im reminded that this glittering illusion of Christianity we present has no bearing on their reality. It just doesnt.

If I talk about the adventure lifeIve described, I will receive blurry looks in return or even questions that ask in so many words, You on something?

Theyd probably laugh if I quoted from The Horse and His Boyfor them.

I do not wish to become a soapbox-Savonarola for hipsters or those of us who yearn for a life of adventure, of pushing past the breakers,of climbing to the top of the mountain,or of Lord of the Rings soundtracks running through your mind at the grocery store.

I am not calling for the burning of percolators, flat-bill Trucker hats, micro-brewed coffee beans, and flannel in the streets.

Nor am I attempting to bash hipsters, because my coffee habits would probably take me well into the title myself if Im being honest.

Do I still believe in adventure? You bet.

But the earth shattering, spirit- shifting beauty and wonder of adventure that once called for me in theory now exists for me in the moments I have with God and those times I have to rely on Jesus because, to be frank, *life* hits the fan and I dont know what else to do to process it all.

Heres my point: Adventure Christianity is just not the thing the world needs.

Adventure #Christianity is just not the thing the world needs. Click To Tweet

What the World Needs

The world needs people, who, choosing to take up their cross daily, understand that life gets hard. That the pretty lives we chase in the name of authenticity crumble like old, poorly built tombs.

The world needs people who have learned to choose God when they have no other evidence of Gods faithfulness than God himself.

There are people in our neighborhoods that long for someone to sit with them, look into their tired eyes and encourage them, not with Christian-eze, but language they can actually hear from the heart of a God who knows pain and who isnt caught off guard by suffering.

Life With God

cultural creative christianity girl woman walking orangeSometimes we ignore the fact that life with God isnt always easy, and nothing in the Bible promises that it will be.

Actually, Jesus talks a lot about the obscurity of it all. He says things like, the Son of Man has no place to lay His head,and How about you forgo your dads funeral and follow me instead? (paraphrased)or Take up your cross and follow me.

John the Baptist said He must increase, and I must decrease”—which sounds a bit painful when you think about it.

Theres a reason Paul said stuff like we rejoice in our present sufferings”—because suffering was real to him.

To use an example from the Adventure Christian Apocrypha, Frodo lost a freaking finger and then said goodbye to all of his friendsand that ship was NOT coming back.

Jesus does call us to adventure, but adventure sometimes looks like being in a shifty tent at night in the middle of the jungle with something growling outside. Fun and exciting in theory, pretty difficult in reality.

In place of the reality of it, we do not offer hope that it will all be worth it in the end, but instead tend to propagate a glittering, you know you want this toopicture of what life is like as a Christian.

And thats just false advertising.

Life with #God isn’t always easy Click To Tweet

The fact that my adventure has felt more like death lately excites me, because all the stuff in the way, all the chasing and the work I put in to have a pretty, #liveauthentic,” “#blessedlife really just kept me from experiencing the love of God in all the moments my life wasnt what I had expected.

Knowing that love and letting myself be known by it is the beautiful, messy, arduous, and worthwhile life of following Christ.

No filter necessary.

Also published on Medium.