Photo for Thought with Rachel

Because last year I was in Israel.
Walking where Jesus walked. 

I’ve never experienced anything like it ever before. I still haven’t even begun to process it—I’ve never really figured out how to—so I sort of just put the processing on pause.

But now my timehop is filled with Israel. And it seems like a dream.

I took a lot of photos a lot like this one. Looking up into the center of extremely pretty churches. This is actually one of the simpler, less ornate ones believe it or not.

I’ve mentioned many times before that I really despise all things fake. I just have this disdain for it. I value purity and authenticity and simplicity. One of the things I struggled with most in Israel was the way they have commercialized faith; the way they’ve commercialized Jesus. It’s rare to see any site in its pure and authentic form because somewhere along the way some religion came along and built a church on top of it and profited from it.

It got me thinking as I browsed back through my photos, we have done exactly the same. We may not have Biblical, historical sites to commercialize and capitalize upon, but we do have the church. For so many of us on this side of the globe, church has become about being entertained, about finding the “perfect one” for us. Jesus has become a figure head and the subject of a lot of songs.

And I wonder sometimes if we’ve lost the purity and the authenticity of the whole thing. Jesus showed up to crowds of average people on hillsides after walking for days down dirt roads. The church in its original state was people coming together to eat and worship and encourage each other in someone’s home.

And you know what? Christianity was spreading like wildfire!

Sadly now it’s a competition. Who has the most dynamic and exciting worship and which kids ministry has the coolest space, and which church puts on the best events.

Look. There is nothing wrong with amazing worship and great programs for our kids and awesome events that draw people in, but let’s not lose site of Jesus—pure and simple—in all of it. Let’s not be so consumed with numbers and success that we have no substance or authentic love left to offer.

When I was a part of a church plant here in Seattle, here’s what we found. Building authentic relationship was everything and often times the least marketed and simplest events were the most successful. I think because they were the purest and most authentic self that we had to offer people, and that’s what people are drawn to in the end. All the hype puts up a great front, but eventually they’ll see through that and find out whether or not there is something pure and true and simple to hang on to.

So let’s keep giving our best and making our churches and our Jesus something that everyone wants to be a part of. But let’s also never forget the life changing power of the purity and simplicity of the Gospel Message proclaimed about Jesus Christ and lived out by His church.

In the vein of authenticity, here are three accounts I follow on Instagram that promote authenticity in one form or another.

1. Amy Cate Gannett @amycategannett
I know Amy because she was my Brio Girl successor and I was super jealous of the photo shoot they did for her year. That’s another story for another day!

Amy is Now a Bible Teacher and the writer/creator of tons of amazing Biblical and theology products. She leads a digital Bible study (which I’ve done and loved) and has a ton of other cool products as well! She’s so knowledgeable and passionate about helping people dive deeper into scripture.

2. Prodigal Pottery @prodigalpottery

I’m so passionate about helping women find restoration after abuse. That’s what this place is all about! So many amazing products made by these recovering women and all of the mo eh goes back to support them and other just like them.

3. The Root and Petal @therootandpetal
If you’re as obsessed with essential oils as I am, you’ll love this account! Lots of cute oil accessories and necessities and fun oil ideas as well!

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