Why authenticity is overated


"So where did the idea of 'alternative' come from? The idea that you had to be unpopular in order to be authentic?" Rebel Sell page 16.

I used the word authentic a lot, and it's a word I hear frequently in relation to church. At it's best its about being honest and faithful, in the face of church structure and processes, that were built upon certitude, and a lack of doubt and mystery, and uncertainty. It's amazing how powerful communities of faith are, where people are real, and honest, and genuine, and do not cloak themselves in a thin veneer of fake respectability.

But I wonder if 'authentic' has allowed many forms of our church to continue to be co-opted into the consumeristic spirit of our age. We can use the word 'authentic' to justify whatever form of church we want/like/prefer, and make it the bench mark of all we do. Being 'authentic', is so often about 'being true to myself', my freedoms, my choice, my self expression, which becomes the idol we worship. It is also so often about being 'other' to what we do not like, have grown tired of, and have discarded as irrelevant.

At what point do our new expressions and explorations become group therapy for our previous church experiences? When will being authentic stop being about my preferences, and be about being true to others, and not just myself, and the people like me.

Or maybe we should drop the word altogether?