The Barnabas Ministry

Real Stuff vs. Fake Stuff and Spiritual Abuse
We live in a world with a lot of fake stuff. A lot of fake stuff. Not only does this topic have implications in all sorts of areas of everyday life, it has special importance for those us dealing with unhealthy churches and matters of spiritual abuse.

Fakes Galore
Let's take a look at some different kinds of fake stuff. I'm not sure about all of the items fitting perfectly into these various categories, but we have to start somewhere.

First, there is run-of-the-mill fake stuff where the "fake" constitutes some sort of improvement or cost savings, and everybody pretty much knows what it is:
  • Fake Wood: Furniture and a lot of other things used to be built from solid wood. But solid wood has problems. It warps. It has imperfections. It can be expensive. It can be damaged by water or scratches. So somebody invented fake wood. Fake wood (such as particle board) is made of small wood pieces that are glued together. It won't warp, has fewer if any imperfections, and it's cheaper. In situations where the finish matters and people are used to seeing wood grain, fake wood can be covered with a thin veneer of real wood, or a plastic veneer that has wood grain painted on it. You'll see this sort of "wood" in furniture and composite floor products. Of course, plastic with a fake wood appearance is often used as well.
  • Fake Food: There's fresh squeezed orange juice. Then there is orange juice concentrate, which can have water added to it and boom-- there's your orange juice, right? How about instant potatoes or instant coffee? There there is chicken nuggets-- breaded chicken parts that looks like a single, natural piece of chicken. Or imitation crab meat. Butter is fattening, so here comes margarine, which is pretty much fake butter. Fruit preserves used to be spread upon toast, but those are expensive so somebody invented sugar-heavy "jelly" spreads. Natural maple syrup was once used for pancakes, but now there is a sugar-laced (or corn-syrup laced) "syrup" substitute. Then there is all of the artificial coloring and flavoring added to a myriad of foods. Did you ever wonder what things like colas would be like if they didn't have all of that stuff added? Take a look at a few food labels and see how much stuff is added to your "natural" food.
  • Fake Fruit, Flowers and Plants: People like to have fruit on display, but it can go bad and attract insects. No problem-- have a plastic banana, a bunch of plastic grapes, or whatever other fake fruit you desire. People also like to have flowers and plants, but these things need watering and special care. No problem. We have plastic flowers and plants-- and most of the time these things cost more than the real deal. But they last longer and won't die on you, so I guess they are worth it.
  • Fake animals: Isn't it quaint to see a little frog or squirrel hopping through your yard or garden? Of course-- except that those animals can ruin the garden with their nibbling and whatnot. No problem! Get a fake frog or squirrel to sit in your garden. All the visual benefits with none of the destructive stuff.
  • Fake Grass: I remember when the Houston Astros baseball team first played in the Astrodome, a domed stadium with Astroturf- a plastic fake grass. Various kinds of fake grass have become increasingly popular, including one now that has little pellets of fake dirt as part of the package. Fake grass needs no water, no mowing, it can't die, and always looks green.
  • Fake Baseball Bats: I remember playing youth baseball when we used wooden bats. Then the aluminum bat came on the scene. The main selling point was that they wouldn't break like wooden bats-- something that would save youth baseball leagues and families the cost of replacing bats that break. Thankfully, we don't hear that tink sound when we watch major-league baseball-- but every other league uses them. Tink. Tink. Tink. The sound of progress.
  • Fake Clothing Materials: If you can have fake wood that is "better" than real wood, why not other fake materials for use in clothing and other applications? There is fake fur, fake leather, fake cotton, fake diamonds, fake pearls-- in fact, for every expensive material there is a "fake" version of it made of some sort of plastic. But we call it faux (French for fake) to make it sound less, uh, fake.
  • Fake Glass: Glass was the standard for windows and other clear barriers and containers for centuries. But glass breaks and is kind of expensive. Plastic to the rescue! We now have Plexiglass- a clear plastic sheet that looks like glass but won't break. We have plastic bottles, shaped just like the old glass bottles. Anything that used to be glass can now be made of clear plastic.
This reminds me of "The Graduate" and Walter Brooke telling Dustin Hoffman, "Plastics!"  I'm sure there is more-- but you get the picture. There's a lot of fake stuff out there.

Now sometimes we know something is fake and we get a kick out of it anyway:

  • Pro Wrestling: Everybody knows that pro wrestling is fake. It's scripted and the competition isn't real. It's just a big show. But people still plunk down $10-$50 to watch it on pay-per-view. And having this on his resume didn't hurt Jesse Ventura when he ran for governor of Minnesota.
  • Movies: Everybody knows that movies are fake. There are artists who are tremendously skilled in set design, special effects, make-up and costumes. Directors can use these and various editing techniques to make all sorts of things look very real. But we know they're fake.... right? The scripts are normally fiction, and even the ones based on a true story have been embellished to make them more what the director wants to present (like the lead character kissing his teammate in Remember the Titans). We know movie makers embellish true stories just to make them more "entertaining," ... right?
  • Music Recordings: When we hear strange studio effects captured in music, we're ok with it. It's part of the sound, and as long as we like the sound we don't normally care how it was made. Everything from playing things backwards to sampling, overdubbing and multi-track recording-- whatever sounds good, goes.
  • Lip-Syncing: In movies and music videos, lip-syncing is common. What this means is that the person on a video looks like they are saying something, but the sound that is actually heard is from a re-take of the audio in a sound studio. When a movie actor is outside, natural elements such as wind and noise prohibit a good recording from being made. So the scene is shot for video, then the audio is re-recorded in a studio. Music videos do the same sort of thing. In either case, the viewer thinks what he is hearing is what is being said, but it isn't really that way.
Some fake stuff may not be readily apparent to us, but we have come to accept these elements of fakery in our culture:
  • Canned Laughter: Back in the old days of television, many shows were performed in front of live audiences (just like radio shows before them). But live audiences have problems. People want to eat, breathe and use the bathroom. And they can do all sorts of weird stuff like not following queues. And what if there is a problem with the production, such as a missed line, a flubbed stunt or action, a "blooper," or a technical malfunction of some sort? Well, somebody invented the laugh track. Now entertainment that is filmed in a studio and edited to be "just right" can have that "live audience" feel dubbed into the soundtrack in post-production. So the viewer at home hears laughter or applause from a "live audience" while watching a show-- but it's all fake.
  • Illusionists: A whole art form is built around the creation of illusions or "magic." Everything from disappearing elephants to levitating models are performed by illusion. They are entertaining and very good at what they do. But we know it's not real.
  • Commercials: We've all seen commercials where somebody is shown using a product or singing its praises. We think that person is someone who actually uses the product. Wrong! That person is an actor, portraying a person who uses the product in the hopes that he can influence you to use the product. The ones that really crack me up show in-shape people using exercise equipment, giving the impression to the viewer that they were once 50 pounds overweight like half of America but now they are In Shape because of the piece of exercise equipment they are shown using.
  • Marketing: Businesses are really trying to get us to think of something positive that is associated with their product. But sometimes it's patently fake. I remember seeing a new restaurant be built nearby. Right before it was due to open, the building was sand-blasted to give it an old, "weathered" look. When you go in to most restaurants, there are displays of old memorabilia (old farm implements, sports equipment, movie posters, celebrity pictures, etc.) on the walls, giving us the impression that the restaurant is unique and has been around since those things were popular. Little do we know the restaurant has been built recently, the memorabilia has been carefully selected to give the right impression, and this restaurant looks just like other ones of its kind in other places. And don't even get me started on the menus and the pictures of the food.
  • Homemade Food: I always get a kick out of seeing a restaurant or packaged food container use the word "homemade" to describe it. A restaurant kitchen isn't a "home," and a food factory isn't a "home" either. I guess they just want you to think it tastes like something that could have been homemade, not that it was really made in somebody's home. But I wonder how many people choose that restaurant over another, thinking, "I want some homemade food today."
  • Reality TV: Perhaps most known by shows such as American Idol or Extreme Home Makeover, Reality TV gives the idea that everything that happens is spontaneous or "real." But it's not-- it's scripted to look spontaneous. I'm not saying the voting isn't real or the work being done isn't real, or that some things that happen aren't real. But these shows are just not what they appear to be. If something important happens and it wasn't captured on tape, they will be re-doing it on tape. Or the cameras will be rolling while provocative things are said or done, specifically to get the reaction recorded.
  • Cosmetic Industry: A whole industry has grown around making people look different than they are. It's one thing to use makeup to provide consistency and enhancement of natural features. But there are other cosmetics that radically change the look of people, such as hair coloring. And models for cosmetics and fashion regularly have their photos air-brushed to make them look better than they are. They look beautiful, downright perfect, but they are not real. But it sure works as getting people to pursue that look! And along these same lines, don't forget wigs and toupees as well.
  • Plastic Surgery: Once reserved for those with serious medical conditions and public people seeking to "improve" certain odd features, plastic surgery now is used by many. Everything from faces, ears, necks, breasts and figures can be altered by plastic surgery. Not to be outdone, dentistry has given us teeth whitening, dental veneers and caps to make teeth look better.
  • Political Spin: Politicians have been notorious for saying and doing things that are carefully calculated to influence people in a particular way. This isn't just candidates for elective office, but also includes activists such as pundits, politically-active celebrities and busy-bodies. The art of politics is often the art of deception.
But there is other fake stuff that gets people really mad, and some people have gotten busted for it. It's easy to attach names to some of these types of fakeness.
  • Business and Professional Fraud: Everybody embellishes their resume, right? Companies research credentials to ensure they aren't being duped. Some businesses act like they are legitimate to earn the trust of unsuspecting consumers, but they turn around and defraud the consumer with shoddy workmanship, inferior products or outright non-performance. This includes things like fake investments. Can you say Enron?
  • Corked bats: I'm not sure who the first person is who figured out that you could drill a hole in the end of a baseball bat, stuff some cork into it, and replace the end of the hole with a small wooden cap. Supposedly, this allows a batter to hit more home runs because the bat is lighter and has a better elasticity. Corked bats can be hard to detect-- except when they break and little cork pieces go flying all over the place in the middle of a game, like what happened to Sammy Sosa.
  • The Black Sox Scandal: The 1919 Chicago White Sox were forever known as the Black Sox when word got out about them throwing the 1919 World Series to the Cincinnati Reds. Several key players deliberately made mistakes throughout the series to allow the Reds to win the series, and to allow gamblers to win their bets on the underdog Reds. More recently, Pete Rose has been removed from eligibility for the baseball Hall of Fame because he bet on games while a manager of a team. Professional baseball has a lot of problems, but they learned early on that any perceived lack of integrity in the competition would be a big problem for the game.
  • Steroids in Sports: Players are always looking for an edge. Some won't shave or change their socks if they think it will help them win a game. So when mysterious supplements and drugs like steroids and human growth hormone are available and provide performance enhancement, players are tempted to take them-- especially if they think other players are already taking them and they can make more money if they take them. Steroids continues to cast a dark, troubling shadow over major sports-- even causing problems with teenage athletes. Mark McGwire was one of the most popular baseball players after breaking Roger Maris' single-season homerun record in 1998, but his failure to come clean about past steroid use in US Congressional testimony led to his popularity taking a huge nosedive.
  • Fake Singing: Back in the 1990's, a group named Milli Vanilli had a string of highly successful singles and a top-selling CD. There was just one problem. The people who were presented as having sung the songs and who performed at the "live" concerts were not the same ones who had actually recorded the songs that everybody was buying and listening to on the radio. The sound of the music hadn't changed once the facts came out, but the producer and the singers were disgraced. To this day, you cannot buy a Milli Vanilli CD from the recording label.  More recently, Ashlee Simpson was caught lip-syncing to a tape on the show Saturday Night Live. The discovery was made when she started singing a song that was different than the one that started playing on the tape. Oops! Darned live TV!
  • Fraud: It is a crime to take money for some investment or service and not perform as promised. Jim Bakker, founder of the PTL television ministry, went to prison for raising money for one thing and using it for another.
  • Counterfeiting: It is a crime to make fake currency. The problem has become so significant that in the last few years the United States has begun re-issuing its paper currency with new designs, embedded fibers and watermarks and other difficult-to-imitate features.
In the face of all of this fakery, some people take a special pride in being more authentic, not fake.
  • No Synthesizers: Synthesizers take digitized sounds from various instruments and store them electronically. They can be replayed as desired, such as in combination with other sounds, at a certain pitch, or with their characteristics altered. The band Mannheim Steamroller uses a variety of instruments in its recordings, and makes a point of saying that no synthesizers were used in making them. When you hear some weird woodwind instrument, it really is a weird woodwind instrument.
  • Fresh Juice: Those who don't use frozen juice concentrate to reconstitute juice make a point of saying it's fresh.
  • The Better Business Bureau: Some industries have gotten such a bad reputation for cheating people, honest businesses formed an organization to let everybody know they aren't cheaters but do business ethically and within certain guidelines.
  • "The Real Thing:" The Coca-Cola company, one of the first companies to make carbonated beverages, has had its product imitated by numerous competitors. They coined a phrase- "the real thing" to play off of this. Thus, everybody else is an imitator of them; they are the "real thing." (Of course, nobody knows exactly what that "real thing" is anyway.)
But this move towards authenticity in the face of fakedom is also subject to fakery. For example, consider this quote:

"The secret of success is sincerity. Once you can fake that you've got it made." (Jean Giraudoux)

So perhaps the most insidious fake thing is fake sincerity, perhaps saying that all others are fakes. Yikes! This fake stuff is deep.

That's a lot of fake stuff. I list these not to be thorough (as I am sure there is still more fake stuff), but to illustrate how much fake stuff is around us, how we are inundated with fake stuff, and how our senses and ability to make judgments have been tricked over and over by fake stuff.  I hope by listing all of these things I've connected with the reader somehow, someway.

Why Fake Stuff Fakes Us Out
We live in a day where the popular saying, "Perception is reality" guides many of us. For whatever reasons-- the overwhelming amount of information, the fragmentation of daily life-- we accept perception as reality. Of course, this mentality isn't really new for mankind; Jesus addressed the phenomenon back in his day.

In his book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, Robert Cialdini discussed how compliance professionals take advantage of the ways people process the myriad of information that hits them. His theory is that there is so much going on in life, so much detail, that we can't possibly pay attention to all of it. So things that appear to be something, we just accept them at face value. We then direct the bulk of our energy towards other more unusual, interesting or demanding matters. Most of the time, this works just fine for us. And the compliance professional takes advantage of this shortcut to persuade us.

In fact, Cialdini discusses the practice of using canned laughter in television. His research found that it is almost universally mocked and despised, but it is still successful at influencing people. Television executives who have a vested interest in getting more viewers (which translates to higher ratings, higher advertising rates and more money) use the laugh track for one reason: it works. It persuades viewers to think the show is funnier than it would otherwise appear. This takes advantage of the principle of pluralistic ignorance-- the idea that in the absence of knowing how to react to something, we look to others for how to react. And if the others are laughing-- even if they are fake "people" inserted at the director's discretion-- we are persuaded by their laughter as a social proof that the show is indeed funny.

It's one thing to be persuaded that something is funny because a bunch of other fake people are laughing, it is another thing to have fake things mislead us on matters of spiritual importance.

Fakes in the Spiritual Realm
Modern Christians and churches spend a lot of effort and energy giving a certain impression. This is particularly true in groups that are interested in growing numerically and those using "seeker-sensitive" methods. Typically, the idea behind this is that in order to be effective evangelistically, Christians and churches need to appear a certain way. So churches train their members to act a certain way and carve their image to fit the desired appearance. This would be especially noticed in the behavior of church leaders and in weekend church services, church websites and church marketing materials.

More insidiously, Christians often think that for people to accept us and our faith, we have to have a certain appearance, we have to "be cool." In particular, Christian men do not want to appear wimpy in the exercise of their faith. So we may do things to appear more acceptable to others.

But collectively or individually, at this stage we are on the brink of becoming fakes. There is a fine line between putting one's best foot forward ("becoming all things to all people") or exercising one's freedom in Christ and being a fake. Once the line of fakedom has been crossed, it's pretty easy to keep justifying more and more fakeness in pursuit of the desired ends. This fakedom takes on a life of its own and becomes a tangled web of outright deceit. Churches and people become enslaved to the bogus image they have created of themselves.

Watch the Fruit
Jesus certainly had his share of fake stuff to deal with in his earthly ministry, and his teachings give us a road map out of this maze of fakedom.

First, Jesus spoke of false spiritual leaders. He used several terms and metaphors, including false prophets, hired hands, hypocrites, and whitewashed tombs. They key behind all of these
is that 1) they made special efforts to appear a certain way and 2) the leader was not the same thing on the inside as they looked like on the outside.  Jesus forgave penitent prostitute and religious person alike; but one thing he seemed to have little tolerance for was the fake-- the person who acted one way but was different on the inside. And religious people, especially leaders, are particularly prone to this temptation.

Jesus also taught his followers about sorting out the conflicting data and gave some key guidelines about how to tell the phony from the real thing.

"Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16 "You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes, nor figs from thistles, are they? 17 "Even so, every good tree bears good fruit; but the bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 "A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. 19 "Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 "So then, you will know them by their fruits." (Matthew 7:15-20)

Jesus' point is that the fruit-- the end result-- of spiritual leaders testifies to the authenticity of the leaders. People don't naturally look at the fruit of spiritual leaders and systems, they look at the "show"-- the nice clothes and buildings, smooth speech, gentle manners, nice sermons. Looking at fruit is harder. Fruit takes time to develop. Fruit may not always be obvious either-- if part of the fruit of a spiritual leader is people leaving to get away from his influence, you won't see them around him anymore. Scripture speaks of how hard it is to count that which is lacking (Eccl 1:15); Christ-followers have to consider this "missing fruit" as part of the picture in looking at fruit.

What are some other fruits to consider? Jesus spoke of leaders as either wolves or shepherds. Wolves destroy people, shepherds care for people. Where there are destroyed people, there has been a wolf. Where there are cared-for people, there are shepherds.

Mere Appearances
Some fakes know people are looking for authenticity and they try to fake the measurements out. So in a fake spiritual system, watch for people acting cared-for as opposed to being really cared-for. But how can you tell?

Stop judging by mere appearances, and make a right judgment. (John 7:24)

Jesus knew that mere appearances and superficial perceptions could mislead people. In the context of the above comment, he was being criticized for healing somebody on the Sabbath. Laughably, the religious critics had decided that healing somebody was "work" and thus it shouldn't be done on the Sabbath. But Jesus' defense was that 1) the Law allowed for animals to be saved from danger on the Sabbath, and 2) he was healing the whole man. In fact, his argument was that the Sabbath was particularly appropriate for healing somebody. So Jesus taught that if you want to get down to the truth about something, it has to go beyond mere appearances and be concerned with end results and fruit.

Words vs. Actions
Another guideline Jesus gave had to do with the differences between words and actions.

"The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat. 3 So you must obey them and do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach.  (Matthew 23:2-3)

"Practice what you preach" is one of those Scriptures that just about everybody knows. In our day, we also have other sayings that also remind of this important distinction. "Talk is cheap." "Walk the talk." "Stupid is as stupid does." One of my favorite quotes on the Barnabas Ministry "quotes" page is this one:

Andrew Carnegie
"As I grow older, I pay less attention to what men say. I just watch what they do."

In our day and age, the practice of "spin" is too common. "Spin" is the dark art of saying something very carefully. It may sound like one thing, but in reality something completely different is said, or perhaps nothing at all is actually "said." Fakers are notorious for spin. Watching out for carefully worded statements is important, but can be difficult. But if you watch what
people do and not just hear what they say, you'll be less likely to be taken in by carefully worded statements.

Done For Public Consumption
Another guideline Jesus gave is that
what is done for public consumption isn't always real.

Be careful not to do your `acts of righteousness' before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven....  And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. 6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. (Matthew 6:1, 5-6)

Fakers pay attention to things done in public. They often work off a "script" (a specific guideline or methodology) to ensure they give a certain impression. Everything from jokes and anecdotes to personal stories and confessions can seem genuine but they can be the result of a scripted code of behavior too. I once heard a well-known preacher give a sermon at a conference, then heard the same speaker at another conference a few months later. He gave the exact same talk-- the same jokes and anecdotes even with the same "off-the-cuff" comments and delivery. What I thought was a great, sincere sermon the first time came across as a scripted performance the second time. Many churches have multiple services, and I don't expect each service to be completely different. Doing the same songs and delivering the same sermon is ok. But when you see the same service more than once you realize how much of it is scripted, and it's more than most people would think.

In the text above, Jesus spoke of those who would give to the poor, pray or fast for the express purpose of being seen doing so. Jesus instructed his followers to do these things in secret and not get caught up in the show. This also suggests that what is done in secret, when somebody thinks nobody else is watching, or when somebody is "off script" shows us who they really are.

So, the pastor can seem all warm and personable shaking hands in the lobby of the church, but what's he like in dealing with people around town, at home, or in other places outside of the carefully controlled environment of the church? Or consider a  preacher who seems all concerned about something or another while preaching, but his actions don't back up that supposed concern.

Now this doesn't mean that people trying to do well are fakes just because they don't reach their ideals. Nobody reaches ideals; everybody needs a good deal of grace. Catching a fellow human being messing up doesn't mean he's a fake, it means he's human. But we can have a realistic expectation of others to be reasonably consistent in their lives. When we see inconsistency, it points to some degree of fakery.

Shrewdness and Caution is Spiritual
It takes time and effort to critically examine things. Now we can't be hyper vigilant and examine everything single thing, but when it comes to spiritual matters we have to look more closely.

For those who have had bad church experiences or suffered spiritual abuse, the days of using our old, naïve rules with regard to spiritual things are over. Jesus didn't use words like "beware" or "watch out" for nothing. Too many Christians think naiveté is a spiritual attribute, as though trusting people was the same as trusting God. Nothing could be further from the truth or less Christian.

There is a place for trusting other Christians or spiritual leaders, but that trust must be earned and warranted. Unquestioning or absolute trust opens the door for fakedom to take over.


How to Not Be a Fake
Those of us who have been around unhealthy churches and spiritual abuse have a few things of our own to deal with when it comes to this whole "fake" thing. We may have been trained to be fakey about things. We may have a hard time figuring out what was fake and what was genuine. I
t's one thing to spot a fake here and there, but what about the fake in the mirror, the fake in the chair we're sitting in? How do we escape from the web of fakedom and not get caught in it? Let's turn Jesus' guidelines above into instructions for ourselves.

From Jesus' talk about false teachers and fruit, we have to
be concerned with long-term results. For example, it is far better to have your children grow up with a real and true faith than for them to appear "godly" at a young age by following certain behaviors only to have them reject these later. We have to be concerned with the long-term and the big picture, not just with what is expedient or some short-term result.

From his discussion of mere appearances, we must take care to just be real and consistent on the inside and outside, not trying to persuade people by superficial or shallow things. I
t is better to have a real faith than to look like you have a real faith. We have to give up the "show." We should be more concerned about the genuine spiritual health and well-being of others instead of just how things look or how they conform to the rules of the day.

From Jesus' talk about the things done in public vs. things done in secret, we have to be the same person publicly and privately. We especially should be wary of doing things to impress others. We have to know in our heart that what we do in private is more the measure of our character than what we do that others see.

Lastly, we should not expect people to trust us implicitly. If we want to be trusted, we have to deserve it.

Hello Grace
In all of this, we must remember the message of grace. Our acceptance by God has to do with Christ's death on the cross and not our ability to gather favor from people or appear a certain way. We all yearn for the approval of others, and this drives much of the spiritual fakery out there. Jesus wants us to be concerned with God's approval, not the approval of men. God's approval doesn't come by persuading or faking out men.

Ironically, God's approval comes by grace. We are pretty much empty-handed when it comes to impressing God, and accepting this is the true power of the gospel.

We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. (Isaiah 53:6)

He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy. (Proverbs 28:13)

But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8 What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ--the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith.  (Philippians 3:7-9)

When we accept this, we are free to be real and have the authenticity for which we all yearn. We can finally give up this "fake show thing" that gets us all into so much trouble.

Copyright © 2007 John Engler. All rights reserved.

Send a letter to the editor concerning this article