Are You For REAL?

“You gotta be REAL.”  “What we want is a place where we can be
REAL.”  “I’m looking for a small group that is REAL with each
other.”  “Church should be a place where people can let go of the
masks and be REAL.”  “REAL worship, REAL small groups, REAL

It seems to be the most popular word in the conversation of the Church
today — REAL.  Other words are substituted but they mean the same
thing — authentic, transparent, vulnerable, dependent, etc.  The
only problem I have with the whole conversation is that I hear people
talking it, but when someone actually practices it they are seen as
strange, odd, weird, and even sinful.  It seems that we can be
REAL up to a point, but when it gets to be too gritty, too
uncomfortable, or too…well, REAL then everybody slinks away to their
corners and leaves the REAL person standing naked and vulnerable and

I had a professor once (with an antagonistic spirit like my own) who
went into a small group setting where everyone professed their REALNESS
at the outset and their desire to be even more REAL with one another in
the group.  Being the new person in the group he decided to see
how REAL they wanted to be.  When the time for prayer requests
came he raised his hand and said, “I know I’m new here, but as you guys
were talking about being REAL I couldn’t help but think…this is a
group I can share my heart with.  I want you to pray for me as
I’ve been sleeping with prostitutes for the last year of our
marriage.  I have a horrible pr0n addiction that I’ve been
struggling with for years.  I know I’m a professor at the local
Christian College, but I’m also a cocaine addict and I need a group
like this to pray for me.”  You can imagine the response from this
group of REAL people — shock and awe
Nobody said a word!  The blood drained from their faces. 
Finally the leader offered up a short pithy prayer and dismissed the
group.  I don’t think my friend was ever invited back.

It seems that the rule of thumb is — be REAL but be REAL like
us.  Or in other words: Be REAL, but watch your language.  Be
REAL, but not sinful.  Be REAL, but not too REAL.  I don’t
think that the call to be REAL is for REAL until we get REAL with one
another and ourselves.  I think that’s code language for what my
Bible calls confession.  We’re not too big on that one.  We
still think of confession as that long walk down the isle to stand in
front of thousands and say “Look at me!  I blew it!”  But I
think it’s actually far from that.  We’ve got to accept our place
in the Story as those that live on this side of Eden.  We’re all
screw-ups!  None of us have got it figured out — and even if we
say we do, that in itself is a mistake. 

So my goal today is to be REAL.  Not just to fake REAL (as if that
can be done), but to live from my true center.  To own up to my
crap.  To get over myself.  And to allow Grace to cover me
fully without me trying to help it out. 

Enjoy the Journey!


~ by Chris Green on February 9, 2005.

5 Responses to “Are You For REAL?”

  1. Right on brother! Bring it. So much I could say, but I think you said it all.Keep it real!Rick

  2. Strange.I was contemplating deleting you from my favorites because your page comes in slowly, but you are echoing what I was talking about this morning. Confession, true confession. But you are right, the reason we don’t do it is because we are afraid that our problems will be met with the same disdain as the professor you mentioned. We first have to establish relationships built on trust. And I guess somebody has to be the first to be “real” in every group. I too, am going to strive to let it be me.

  3. DJG,I think I fixed the problem with the page coming in slowly. Let me know if it’s still too slow. Thanks for the heads up!

  4. It seems to be better. Thanks!

  5. Well, there’s real and then there’s out-to-shock. I’m not talking about what your friend did, because that was obviously a badly needed object lesson, but there are people who need to see our Realness and there are people who don’t. I guess I’m suggesting using discernment, which I’m sure is pretty non-controversial. BTW, this is the first time I’ve visited, I like your blog.

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