Most people have a healthy dislike of pretense, hidden agendas, moral compromise, and philosophical contradictions. The challenge is how to turn this tension into something positive and productive. I am convinced this means we have to talk about things no one is talking about, do things no one is doing, and live in a way that most people don’t want to live.  Non-conventional and out-of-the-box thinking must become familiar friends, because changing and growing demands defying the instinctive habit of trending toward what is natural, easy, and comfortable.

An unauthorized approach to Christianity means figuring out how to navigate the often turbulent and chaotic intersection of real life, simple faith, and raw emotion. To do so is to focus on developing a tendency and strategy that is practical and helpful. It is meant to be a refreshing simplification and back-to-the-basics reboot of this ancient faith. It is a mindset, behavior, and philosophy. And by default, it is also a necessary call to action in which principle must always take precedence over popularity and substance must win over style.

It is pursuing individual purpose while seeking to relentlessly follow the teachings of Jesus. It is marked by a willingness to go against the grain of what is convenient and comfortable—or even politically correct—in this endeavor. Since the grit of life is peppered with hard times and difficult decisions, it favors the common sense of proven wisdom rather than obscure theories. It is bare bones, honest, and raw, but it is important to note that it does not seek to be abrasive or offensive.

The end-all goal of an unauthorized approach to Christianity is to create an enduring faith. This means dealing with the frustrations of faith (and all areas of life that faith impacts) head-on in order to reconcile the tensions and work toward practical and helpful resolutions. These areas include opinions, values, views on current events, marriage, parenting, professional pursuits, hopes, dreams, etc.

To me, this is how faith perpetuates and endures. And it is very much inspired by the words of the Apostle Paul in his letter to a group of followers in the town of Philippi:

“…continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.”  –Philippians 2:12-13