culture, The Church

What’s Wrong With Authenticity?

September 27, 2016 • By

Authentic – adjective ə-ˈthen-tik, ȯ-
True to one’s own personality, spirit, or character.

“Authenticity.” Go ahead and say it, everyone else is. Try using it in a sentence like, “I just really appreciate her authenticity.”

It makes me feel somehow more intelligent, deeper, and yes cooler to say someone, or something like music or literature is authentic. It’s the buzzword that keeps on giving. And in the church, as you may know, buzzwords tend to stay in fashion long after their expiration date in mainstream culture.

I’ve been doing some thinking lately about authenticity. Truth be told, I love when I meet a truly authentic person. There’s just something refreshing about their transparency and character.

I’ve noticed something interesting about the use of the word though. Like any word that gets overused, it’s starting to lose it’s impact and be used in ways that aren’t true to its meaning. Let me cut straight to the chase with an example. Person X is having a bad day, their patience is worn thin, and they use some dishonoring language towards, or about, the person who just got on their last nerve. What should have been considered an inappropriate use of words is passed off as “just being real.”

Another misuse of the Authentic Card is closely related. Person Y goes on a rant about their boss, their pastor, or their neighbor. Then they say, “I just needed to vent.” Why is this OK among believers when scripture tells us “A fool gives full vent to his anger” in Proverbs 29:11. Venting isn’t an expression of authenticity unless you’re an authentic gossip and a harpy.

The idea that the day we had, the mood we’re in, or the disposition we possess is an excuse to be a total @$$hole in the name of authenticity is a notion that needs to die, especially in the church where we are supposed to be governed by God’s Spirit and word, and not our feelings. We need to stop valuing authenticity over love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

The truth is, if we’re following Jesus, then He has put a new nature in us. When we get ugly, petty, or whiny, then claim, “That’s just the way I am” (because we’re authentic, of course) we’re saying that the work God did for us wasn’t enough. We condemn ourselves to a life of being ruled by a sinful nature, rather than His nature in us.

Most of the time, when I hear self-claims of authenticity, it comes attached with an ugly attitude of arrogance. But here’s what I’ve learned about genuine authenticity: it’s humble, it desires to improve rather than broadcasting one’s faults with pride, and it doesn’t judge others for appearing to have it together.

If we truly desire authenticity in our lives, we need to stop seeing it as an expression of our attitudes and feelings and evaluate how authentically we are loving others. True authenticity loves, values, and serves others and, in that, we are loving God. That’s the kind of authenticity I want to have!

1st John 2:5 and 6 says, “But those who obey God’s word truly show how completely they love him. That is how we know we are living in him. Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did.”


The Water Gallon Challenge Gone Too Far

August 28, 2016 • By

I did a little experiment. OK, maybe a big experiment. Maybe a little experiment over a long period of time.

I read a blog article about a woman who drank a gallon of water a day for a month. The article talked about the life-changing effects this had on her like clearer skin, more energy, fuller hair, and more friends (just kidding about the friends).

So, not one to take a challenge lightly, I decided to drink a gallon of water a day for 18 MONTHS. That’s right, a year and a half. I thought I might share some of the results of my experiment and let you know if I’m going to continue or just go back to “normal” water consumption.

Here’s what happened.

Loads of pee. The beginning was difficult. I peed all the time. I peed when I entered a building and when I left. I interrupted lots of conversations to pee, and I couldn’t sit through a TV show without getting up to go. It was like being in constant “flush”mode and the pee just kept coming.

Very challenging to get it all down. In the beginning, there were nights where I stayed up late just to finish my gallon. I remember sitting on the couch until 11:00pm, with a big water baby in my belly, just trying to get that gallon down. I wasn’t used to drinking so much and it didn’t seem natural to be guzzling glass after glass all day long. Now I usually drink my last glass at dinner, no problem. The advantage to this is that I’m getting out of bed to pee in the middle of the night much less.

My allergies are much less severe. I didn’t read about others experiencing this, but I sure noticed. Less sneezing, less red nose, and less itchy eyes. They didn’t go away completely, but improved greatly.

Blemishes are less frequent and go away much faster. Clearer skin is nice, and a more even complexion is nice too. I’m not going to claim that I took on a “glow” like some have, but I will say I’ve noticed smoother, healthier looking skin. Bonus.

No more antibiotics. During a typical year, I’ll have to visit the doctor once or twice for a sinus infection and/or bronchitis. Over the past 18 months, I’ve been infection free, haven’t had the flu, or missed a single day of work for being sick. If I feel something coming on, it’s usually gone the next day before it’s had a chance to grow into something that knocks me out of commission for a few days. This has been one of my favorite benefits.

Maintaining a healthy weight is easier. Hey, when your stomach is full of water you get hungry less often. You also get full faster and you snack less. I used to struggle to keep my weight under 170 lbs. Now I hover around 165 without much effort. I know that doesn’t sound dramatic, but it makes a huge difference in how I feel physically and about myself.

I would say, that out of all of the decisions I’ve made about my health over the last few years, a gallon of water a day has been one of the best. It’s been easy to implement, and stick to, and it doesn’t really cost anything. You can buy a gallon jug of water at the grocery store for a buck and refill it from your kitchen faucet until you feel the need to replace it. I replace mine every other month or so. I’m definitely going to stick with it!

How about you? Have you tried the gallon a day challenge? What kind of results did you get? Have any questions? Feel free to comment below.