I am not known for keeping my mouth shut. I often say things in public settings that get me in trouble (see Minding Our Own Business). But, you know what? I don’t think letting people know we are Christian should be such a big, hairy deal. I said something in a social setting recently about being a Christian, and the people I was with (all Christians) acted embarrassed and uncomfortable. One young woman said, “You shouldn’t have said that about being a Christian. People will think less of you.”
Think less of me? Really? Being a Christian is a liability? Something to be ashamed of? Thanks whacko Christian looneys — I now cannot say I believe in God because you made that unacceptable. You know what, I think that Jesus is the Son of God and I’m proud of that fact. It makes me absolutely FURIOUS when my conservative evangelical brothers and sisters make me ashamed to claim what I believe. Just recently, I watched a young evangelical woman speak of her faith. She was well-dressed, articulate, poised and engaging. She spoke of her deep desire for a world of peace… then launched into a hateful attack on “fags and Arabs.” Initially, I was impressed and relieved. I turned off the interview humiliated and appalled. Why does high profile broadcast Christianity have to be represented by petty, small-minded, hateful lunatics?
Someone wrote me an email saying, “oh, but you are a liberal, fascist sinner,” (not what they said, but what I read… what they actually said was:) “you say we should allow homosexuals and ex-criminals and those who challenge our beliefs into the church. But to what purpose? All you want to do is destroy what we have worked so long to build up.” Is what we have built up really that great? We have hundreds of thousands (millions?) 0f inert Christians with no motivation or desire to share their faith working diligently to prevent those with a missional vision from doing any good work in the name of Christ. Is this what we want? Most Christians have no interest in sharing their faith with any other human being. Is this okay? Those who share their faith are viewed as “suspect” at least, as “crazy” at worst.
I am not promoting a massive “do You know Jesus Christ as Your Personal Lord and Savior” campaign. I am more about letting people know that Jesus Christ makes a difference — that faith can change lives. I’m about Christians being proud to be Christians. I’m about letting the love, joy, grace, mercy, justice, hope and kindness of the Christian life begin to define us. I am tired of being a joke because I believe in God and Jesus Christ. If we believe it, we should say it, and we should mean it. This idea that we have something to hide or be ashamed of? Huh-uh.
Categories: Christian witness, Congregational Life, Evangelism
I fully understand what you mean when the world view of Christianity is a representation of “petty, small-minded, hateful lunatics.” It makes is very difficult to speak about your faith without the stereotypes getting in the way. If only more people seek out the Lord and share the relationship they find with others, instead of living in their comfort.
I really love what Ed and David said, and I truly can understand the “I believe the majority of people in my congregations do not know Jesus Christ” comment, as disturbing as it is.
I believe that once one truly, actually falls in love with Christ they can’t help but talk about it. Once one gets a piece of the single best thing in the universe, and an infinite thing at that, there is an insatiable urge to share the love, peace, and healing brought by Christ.
Great blog, and keep “saying it” regardless. (It’s what Jesus did.)
I agree with David. I find that most of the people in my congregations who are afraid/ashamed to speak their faith are good church-goers but marginal (at best) Christ followers. I get flack often for preaching messages that call people to live their faith, to be true disciples. But the fact is, I believe the majority of people in my congregations do not know Jesus Christ; they don’t have a relationship with him, and quite frankly, don’t want one because it is not convenient nor comfortable. It really saddens me.
I speak to people every day about who I am, what I believe, and where I work. I also make it a point to invite them to come see me on Sunday morning, often handing them a business card with the church address and my email. Ashamed? Of being a Christ follower? Not me. I proclaim it proudly, and it’s amazing the conversations I’ve had with people who have either left the church or have never been. Sometimes they take me up on my offer to “visit,” and they are pleasantly surprised by what they find in the service I lead.
I feel that people who are afraid (or ashamed) of sharing their faith have no faith. Sorry to sound a bit harsh, but that’s the way it is. Like you I often get in trouble with what I say, especially to the over-churched where I’m serving. But they don’t seem to understand that we are called to spread the Good News, and sometimes that means saying and doing things that might make them uncomfortable. We’re losing an entire generation from the church and we’d better figure out how to reach them or the church will cease to exist… gee, sounds kind of Scriptural, doesn’t it?