Mark Steele: Man on a Christianish Mission
- Tuesday, August 04, 2009
So there you are on your mission: you're on the move, minding your own business and making your way to your destination. Traffic is moving smoothly. And everyone is obeying the rules and staying in their lanes and out of yours.
But then it happens. Someone veers over and cuts you off. How could this be? Oh wait. Of course. There’s no icthys symbol on the car’s bumper. But would that really have made a difference? And then would you respond any differently? Probably not. So maybe out comes something ugly from your mouth. Or a gesture from your hand. Perhaps it’s just a fleeting bad thought. Either way you slice it, it’s something that’s not very Christian. Something … a little more Christianish.
It's somewhere we've all been before, finding ourselves in situations where the ugliness of who we really are and how we’re not living like Christ comes out in full display.
“We have trained ourselves to cope well on a Christianish path,” acknowledges author Mark Steele. “It’s a path where we please the right godly people and don’t feel the guilt when our failings are seen by the world at large. But this is not the approach to Jesus that we were created to take. The way is not church. The way is not ideology. The way is not Christian. The way is Jesus.”
It’s the premise for Steele’s third book, Christianish, which released this month from David C Cook. As in his first two literary endeavors (Flashbang: How I Got Over Myself and Half-Life/ Die Already), he draws from the often hilarious experiences from his own life as he fleshes out principles learned from the life and words of Christ.
A former standup comedian, Mark Steele is the president and executive creative of Steelehouse Productions, a company that creates art for business and ministry through film, stage and animation. This husband and father also recently welcomed his fourth child into the family and took time in his busy schedule to talk with Crosswalk.com about his latest book, what it means to live like Christ and how to ditch the ish. …
Christianish opens with a prologue describing an incident involving your wife Kaysie, a pair of scissors and your dog Scout. Why is this such a great visual to explain what it means to be “Christianish”?
It was so funny because that incident happened like the day before I was desperately grappling with what is the word picture that really describes what’s going on here with this Christianish identity. What I don’t think we as Christians tend to own up to (most of the time) is this idea that is the heart of the book: Ministry is surgery. And if you and I have ever proclaimed to be living for Christ, if you and I have ever gone to church or been involved in a Christian organization or spoken out about Christ, whether we want to be one or not, we are now ministers because our lives are now observed. They’re observed not just in the context of who are we, but they’re now observed in the context of who is Christ and who is he in our lives.
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