Have you ever been anonymous in a crowd? Have you had the chance to be the mascot or wear a full costume at a party? There is something that makes us more socially bold when nobody knows our identity. Anonymity is a powerful thing that can be used for good or evil in the human heart. But I would suggest to you that anonymity in a church context is never a good place to be for long.
Anonymity is on the opposite end of the spectrum from authenticity. The “A” in ReCAST stands for authenticity and it is a core value of our church. It starts in my mind with the recognition of what Scripture tells us is true of everyone. We are all broken and messed up people. There is something silly about a group of people dressing up on Sunday morning and gathering together to act like they are all super good.
The New Testament is full of indications that we need each other in the body of Christ. We are like members of a body that CANNOT function correctly without the rest of the body. The road to genuine authenticity starts with the reality of Scripture that we are all broken, it quickly travels down the road of needing each other, and moves on toward ongoing relationships that sharpen, correct, encourage, and rebuke.
It is easy to play masquerade and allow nobody into our lives. But I would suggest that anonymity or living behind a mask is one of the most dangerous places a follower of Jesus can be! I recognize that opening our hearts and our junk and our mess to others is a scary prospect. Especially for those who have been burned by doing so in the past. But the alternative is to live a life alone, which is not the life that Jesus intended for us.
Being vulnerable keeps us humble, keeps us in a state of need, and accentuates grace in a way that acting like we have it all together never can! Authenticity begins with being honest with ourselves. Do you have it all together? Do you think God might have others in your church who could help you? Do you think there are some in your church you could be helping?
Let me know your thoughts about authenticity!