Living Epistles Or Living Caricatures?

As a kid growing up in Wisconsin I spent many of my summers visiting Wisconsin Dells. The Dells is basically a city wide theme park filled with attractions of every sort. There’s almost always a caricature artist there willing to draw you for a small fee, and it’s always a lot of fun to coax your girlfriend into having her portrait done. She’ll undoubtedly end up with an oddly shaped head and features that would sort of make her look as if she spent too much time in front of a circus mirror.

Caricatures are supposed to be wildly out there. Real life, however, is not supposed to look like a caricature unless there’s something dramatically wrong!

By definition-

Caricature: Exaggeration by means of often ludicrous distortion of parts or characteristics.

I hate to say this, but that definition too often fits what I’ve seen going on in the church.

I see people acting in such exaggerated, ludicrous ways that onlookers would wonder what in the world being a Christian is all about. When compared with the bible much of what we see in the church today looks more like a caricature than a living epistle.

I’m talking about the exaggerated grandiose display that goes on in many churches every Sunday, comes into our homes via Christian programming, and is often mimicked by well meaning Christians who think the whole thing is somehow “being spiritual”.

Stop and think about what I’m saying and it won’t be hard to image what I’m talking about.

Now contrast this with what the bible calls us to be- living epistles, in our modern language, “living letters”.

“You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.” – 1 Corinthians 3:3

We are simply to be a living example of God at work in our lives. This is a far cry from the dog and pony show, over-the-top mentality that is often in evidence. The exaggeration, the distorted pretending that passes for Christianity today is NOT in any way a true representation of what it means to be a follower of Christ.