Our problem is this: We have created a narcissistic form of Christianity, in which “conversion” is less a turning toward Christ than a turning toward success or fame or fortune. Narcissus never had it so good than in best-seller Christianity, which has become self-centeredness wrapped up as “spirituality,” which has become the latest fashion accessory for the person who has everything. A survey of the Christian Book Association’s best-selling books as we began the twenty-first century found that family and parenting topics accounted for nearly half of the titles, with the rest focused mainly on the self. Of the top 100 books, just 6 were about the Bible, 4 were about Jesus, and 3 were about evangelism. “The Christianity of the bestseller lists tend to be personal, private, and interior,” wrote Gene Edward Veith, “with little attention to theology or to the church.”
We have made conversion primarily about ourselves, a finding of ourselves and a fulfilling of ourselves. We’ve made it a journey of self-discovery rather than a journey of God discovery. Yet conversion is not about us, but about God’s overture of love, without which we are devoid of sufficient motive or power to change and be changed. True “conversion” is to lay hold of Christ, or rather, as Paul corrected himself, to allow Christ to lay hold of us. True “conversion” is directed toward the one to whom we convert, the one to whom we turn. It is a life of “fullness,” in which the “fullness” is Christ.
You are not the point. And we are not the point. Jesus Christ always has been and always will be the point. All the arrows point to him and not to us.
Leonard Sweet and Frank Viola, Jesus Manifesto
(Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2010), p.100-101.