They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.
—Acts 2:42

“Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplify, simplify.”
—Henry David Thoreau

Back in the old days the God thing was a whole lot simpler. You got saved, did a little singing on Sundays, had a few potlucks, showed up for Wednesday evening prayer meetings, and called it good. You believed the Gospel story as you heard it and didn’t worry much about the nuances of religious angst or cultural relevance. Once you learned how to ride the salvation cycle, you simply pedaled through thick and thin toward the blessed by and by. It was a nice arrangement and worked pretty well when you needed it to.

These days things have gotten a lot more complicated. These days we’re sort of embarrassed by simple faith. Instead we fret over who can be saved or how not to offend people or whether or not the human family tree has any monkeys on it. We wonder if Jesus actually said all those things he was reported to have said and if the Bible is really as woefully medieval as modern pundits make it out to be. These days holiness has hollowed to hip, and virtue has vacillated to vibe. Today we know more—and less—than we ever have. We’re head-over-heels with ambivalence, awash with indecision, and singing the wishy-washy blues. These days map to the City of God looks more like a circuit board than a straight and narrow path:

Not so long ago the blueprint was clear. You believed the Bible and actually did what it said. Sunday mornings you went to church and Wednesday evenings you showed up for prayer meeting. As often as possible you spent time worshiping, praying, eating, and laughing with your fellow saints. You didn’t sit in judgment over the flock; you participated. Bing bang. Christianity for dummies.

Take a load off, kids. Get simple.


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