See how Christians are?

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It has happened again: a Christian has done something hypocritical, or uncaring, or selfish, or judgmental, and people are saying "See? This is why I left the church!" "See? this is how Christians are!" "This is why I'm an atheist!" While a specific "something" prompted this post, there is always "something" in the news or being passed around social media.

Many Christians are having a headdesk moment and saying

"Oh, no. Not again."
We're saying "See? This is why I can't say I'm Christian!" "This is why I can't talk about Jesus!" "This is why I can't talk even mention the Bible without someone going off on me!" We talk about how the cross, Christianity, the Bible, the words "gospel" and "evangelism" have come to mean intolerance, judgment, hypocrisy, selfishness, and hypocrisy.

We blame various people and groups for this, but who is really to blame?

Christians.

There are a lot of us (I'm including myself) who don't do much to counter this impression of Christianity. In fact, I believe that caring, loving, concerned Christians are the overwhelming majority, but we're too often reluctant to mention God or Jesus as the inspiration for our actions of care, love, and concern.

In the first century or two after Jesus, the sect that would become the Christian church grew rapidly. It did not grow by beating someone over the head with a Bible (figuratively or literally). It attracted people by caring for the sick, feeding the poor, visiting the imprisoned. People stayed because of the way the followers of Jesus loved each other.

What would happen if we really lived out Jesus' call for us to love God and love our neighbors (and that everyone is a neighbor)? What would happen if we really lived "love your enemies"? And what would happen if we did it while saying "give God the glory" or "I'm following in Jesus' way"?

Maybe, when a Christian has done something hypocritical, or uncaring, or selfish, or judgmental, people would say "Well, that's not really Christian." "I know Christians, and that's not like them." "I wonder what happened that? That doesn't seem right"

I think it's worth a try.

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1 Comment

I once read something comparing Christianity to one's family.

There are family members one is closer to and others not as much and still others one tries to distance his or herself from. And yet, they are family. It's not easy or desirable to claim them as family, yet there they are.

Likewise, there are Christian faith traditions one is closer to and others not as much and still others one tries to distance his or herself from. And yet, they are Christians. It's not easy or desirable to claim them as family, yet there they are.

I wish I could find that article again because while I remember the comparison I wish I could remember its full context.

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