Funky Christians

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Over the last few years, some friends and I have compared notes about “funky” Christians we have encountered. Funky for me is not a term of style, but a term of aroma. When something is funky, it smells bad.


  • A principal of a christian school who appears to be having an affair with the school administrative secretary.
  • A church that made some bad financial decisions, then tried to avoid paying off their debt.
  • Christians who go to college campuses to yell at students, telling them they are going to hell.
  • A church who has decided it is a good idea to blame every natural or human initiated disaster on God’s judgment for our society’s sinfulness.

All these “Christians” give of an aroma, and from where i sit, it is not the aroma of Jesus. It is funky – like toe jam or worse.

A wise pastor once told me that “The gospel is offensive, so be prepared for people to be offended when you share the gospel. Just be sure that it is the gospel that it is offending them, and not you personally.”

Jesus when he was on this earth, was much more harshly critical of the religious establishment than he was of sinners. He came to this earth to save sinners, including you and me. The problem with the religious establishment of his day was that they weren’t willing to admit they needed His salvation. He criticized their hypocrisy and their tendency to love the honor that was bestowed upon them by their “followers”. He criticized them for making up rules that made it harder rather than easier for people to be in relationship with God. He said in almost as many words, “You Stink!”

At work, we have a saying – “The cream rises to the top, and so does the scum.” It is a rather cynical point of view that says that those that are truly talented and motivated advance, and so do those that bend rules and abuse people. Unfortunately, this can also be true in the Christian world – among the most well-known Christians are truly honorable people and some pretty despicable people as well. When well known Christian leaders fall, their fall into sin and hypocrisy and corruption is perhaps the worst smelling of all.

Let us each resolve, personally to give of a fresh aroma, the aroma of Jesus himself. Lord, help us.

2 comments on “Funky Christians

  1. Sin stinks. I’ll give you that. I want to be someone that acknowledges his propensity to live according to the old way, thinking I could be good enough to live life “rightly” and working hard not to screw up too badly. I settle for the old way too often and allow the shame and funkiness of my sin to distance me from the love of my Father. But wasn’t it the funky smelling peeps that Jesus surrounded himself with. “Come to me all you who are weary and heavy laiden and I will give you rest.” I think it should read, “Come ye funky.” Christian-leader or not, worst of pagans or not, father, single-and-40-something woman, gang-banger, Bible-banger…come. I think the point is that Jesus doesn’t care how funky we smell, he just wants us to come. He is the febreezer of our souls, the one that reorients our body odor to be shower-fresh…all the time…as a result of what JESUS has done once and for all on the cross. Sin stinks, yes. But as a Christian, when I sin, I don’t refunkify myself. I’ve just chosen to live the old way again and need to remember that there’s nothing I can do to make God love me any more or less than He does right now. His love for me is perfect. When I sin, I’m not funky all over again and in need of a good washing. I’ve been cleaned, once and for all, as a result of Christ’s love for me on the cross. What I need when I sin is to have my sniffer recalibrated. When I sin, I think I smell funky and that then I need to clean up before I can come back to God…or worse, that I can’t ever really come because I’m too big of a wretch. I live like there’s something I can do to merit or demerit God’s favor of me. Thank goodness that’s not true. Thanks be to God, through Jesus Christ our Lord, I’ve been made new…no more funky here.

  2. Yeah, I get that. I love believers who “own their funk”. I certainly stink. I am more thinking of those of us who feel the need to wear cologne to hide it. I think more of the pharisees – whose particular funk was that they were trying in their own strength to smell good.

    I think Jesus surrounded himself with sinners who were willing to follow at a cost, while calling the “religious establishment” a brood of vipers.

    Our spiritual hygiene has to start with a knowledge of what defiles… It is not what you put in, but what comes out. We recognize that we are incapable of removing our funk, and none of the cologne we try to wear (superficial acts of righteousness) really hide it very well. We need the initial cleansing of salvation, then we need to remember to let our feet be cleaned as they continue to accumulate the dung of the world.

    I worry that sometimes I come off in the blog as critical of Christians and “The Church”. Just as I worry that in person, I can be negative and critical, even cynical. But, that is how I am wired. If we are His body, then we should smell like He does, and many of us do. I wanna smell more like Jesus.

    Thanks for reading and leaving your thoughts. You challenge me to clarify my own…

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