I’m trying to grasp what people mean when they say Christians need to embrace authenticity.
I read recently someone praise a singer for authentic use of profanity while speaking to an audience.
I read this morning a piece by a man arguing that experiencing a divide within ourselves – a tug-of-war between the part that longs for God and the part that wants to be submerged in the broad stream of popular culture – is a sign that something is wrong with Christianity. I took the point to be that a more authentic Christianity would not create this sense of a divided self.
I can’t figure out how these uses of the concept of authenticity square with Christian teaching about the holiness of God and the falleness of humanity. We are divided in our deepest being. We are called to live transformed and healed and holy lives as the children of God. Our most authentic self is the self we were created to be – holy and happy.
Dropping f-bombs and melting into pop culture strike me as moves away from God’s intention for our lives. People who do so may appear to lead more “integrated” lives without the struggle created by the working of grace, but – at least from a Christian vocabulary – I don’t see how we can call that more authentic.
Is not the real, the genuine, the authentic me the person God created me to be and calls me to become? I am not yet my authentic self, but by God’s grace I hope one day to be so.