In the movie American Hustle Irving Rosenfeld turns to his partner Sydney Prosser and tells her, ‘Play your part.’ She smartly replies, ‘Fine.You play your part.’ And that in a way sums up much of this film. Folks playing a part. For much of the movie Sydney Prosser poses as Lady Edith Greensly, adopting a British accent to fool people that she is a British aristocrat. It’s a story of con artists, and con artists being manipulated by the police.
Playing a part is a great temptation for us in the church, not so much because we want to con folks, but because we feel compelled to look as ‘christian’ as possible. We want to appear sorted, full of faith and able to cope with life’s difficulties. Perhaps in order to make God look good. It’s easy to adopt a Christian persona, a Christian version of ourselves, when we walk into church.
But God does not need that, Jesus promised us that the Spirit of God would lead us into all truth. Not into playing a part. And the Bible is full of disreputable characters and their place in God’s big plans. (See Hebrews 11) We don’t have to be someone else. God wired us up, and he understands the flawed, raw material he is working with. He understands.