No one likes us . . . now what?

I talked yesterday about something that really eats at me. Christians are increasingly seen as UnChristian.

There are at least two discussions to be had here.  One is does it really matter.  The other is what do we do about it?  I’m trying to be positive this year so I’m starting with the second one.

The first thing that comes to mind to me is something I’ve talked about before.  We need to stop fighting–stop fighting the “sinners,” stop fighting the culture war.  Here’s the deal: the culture war is over and we lost.  Culture doesn’t happen in a win or lose fight, it happens through communication, community, influence, and change.

At some point Christians stopped influencing culture and decided to fight it.  We failed.  It was a stupid fight to get into in the first place.

So stop fighting.

That doesn’t mean give up.  It means find a way to be a part of culture, to influence it.

For me that means being friends will people from all walks.  And that means friendship for friendships sake, not as an “in” to invite them to church.  Of course we want them to come to Christ, but I’ve seen too many people stop being friends with someone because they decided “they will never change their sinful ways.”  That isn’t our decision,  and people see through our fake friend veneer when we do this.

Christ called us to love all others through everything.  It’s time to get over ourselves.

(And by the way, it does work.  In all surveys the vast majority of people came to Christ through a relationship, usually a long term one.  Some of the favorite “hit and run” methods, tracts and media, combined account for about 1/2 a percent of conversions.)

Do you think we can handle real community?

Advertisements

Honesty is the Best Policy

One final thought on this weeks atheism discussion:

Justified or not, many people still like to consider America as a “Chrisitian Nation.” Most americans identify themselves as Christians, say they believe in God, they pray, etc. But what this amounts to is a christian culture that is not the same as a christian lifestlye or worldview. Everyone likes to say they are christian, but ultimately what does that mean?

I’m not trying to be legalistic here, far from it. But giving yourself or your group/culture a name generally identifies you as something. What does being a christian mean?

Some might say that “evangelical” means something, but I’m pretty unhappy with that label as well. But that’s another blog.

Back to this christian culture. In my experience, many/most people are lifestyle atheists. That is by no means meant to be a cut against atheist or their morals. But just as atheists have no reason to give thought to what God may have to say about what they think or do, most people who claim to be christian are in no way different. And if I’m honest, a large amount of the time I can do the same thing. So what does it all mean?

It is not our decision what other people do, so I doubt we can actually “fix” the problem of the lifestyle atheist. We can be realistic, however. We are not a Christian nation, and we need to deal with that. Facing the facts leads us to a path of solution.

We who claim to be Christians need to be honest and forthright about our failures rather than brushing them under the rug. Along with that we must show grace and love to those who fail.

One additional final thought to the atheists who have read/may read the blog: I acknowledge that we Christians are broken and that we fail to live up to our own ideals. We often hold culture to standards that we ourselves do not keep. However as we try to extend grace to others we also want to be honest and stop pretending. We want to be real. We know that we can’t begin to discuss issues of science if we can’t even be honest about the issues of our heart.

So keep us real and keep us honest. Call us out when we don’t love God and love Others. We promise to keep you on your toes if you keep us on ours.

Religulous

Here comes the controversy.

My second post on this blog was about a movie.  Not everyone agreed with me, which is fine.  Someone’s about to stir the pot some more.  Bill Maher has a movie releasing soon, Religulous, in which he documents what he sees as the foolishness and ultimately the danger inherit in religion.

I can see the storm brewing.

Honestly, I haven’t seen too much backlash yet, but I think the movie has flown under the radar of many thus far since it’s a documentary and not a blockbuster release.  But let’s take a moment before anything else and agree to approach this with some grace?  Can we avoid petitions trying to stop the movie, and email campaigns sent to the movie studios?  Could be possibly boycott . . . nobody?

Lashing out in anger and protesting the movie will just make the movie’s point in many ways for it, and will change zero minds of those who may agree with it’s precepts.

Do I agree with the conclusions this movie makes?*No, I do not.   Do I think the approach is unfair?  Probably.*  Is Bill Maher justified in his conclusions?  Um, more on that later.

For adults, I would approach this movie with a personal challenge if anything.  How strong are you in your faith?  Can it take a beating?  Can it coexist with questions?

More thoughts on this topic to come.

*No, I have not seen this movie yet.  Yes, I will see it at some point in the future.

Who Owns You?

Everyone these days wants to categorize us into groups, voting blocs, and statistics. Maybe it’s because we started behaving as we’re told. Do you know what defines you and owns you?
Is it. . .

  • Your political party
  • Your religion*
  • Your past
  • Your assumptions
  • Your addictions
  • Your cravings

Or do you define yourself?

*not your faith