As I listen to people come into the church I serve, there are reoccurring words that are used to talk about what they are looking for. Most of the language is around building and growing. I hear a desire to develop faith, a church to help them build up their values, a community that can help their family grow in loving kindness, a place where they can develop, flourish and thrive.
We all need to mature and develop, but following Jesus leads to seeing growth differently. Growth in Jesus Christ means less building and more erosion.
The process of erosion is slow and steady. It is a process of removing. It requires extended exposure to the power that is beyond you so to be shaped in ways that you cannot control or expedite. Erosion is a scary thing because it feels like we are becoming less, and you are right. That is the point. We decrease and Christ increases. We die to ourselves and are raised in Christ. It is no longer I that lives in me but Christ that animates me.
Letting go of the facade and front; the traditional thinking of might and what strength looks like; the power and ego - this is what Christianity is all about. It is trusting that the Holy Spirit blows in and through and erodes away the very thing we have been told since our youth that defines us. It is about discovering the God we sought for all along is already with us. It is about living with less only to discover it to be more liberating and beautiful than imaged.
Perhaps this is why so many of us, myself included, struggle with Christianity. It requires of me to focus less on building and more on erosion.