25 January 2008

Shockingly UnChristian

This week’s issue of WORLD magazine arrived today. I was drawn in by an article called “Going Negative” by Tony Woodlief. Here is what the beginning of the article said:

The Barna Group, a respected Christian survey organization, recently asked young people to identify which perceptions they most strongly associate with Christianity. The three most commonly agreed upon were anti-homosexual, judgmental and hypocritical. Barna president David Kinnaman and co-author Gabe Lyons conclude in UnChristian that Christians “have become famous for what we oppose, rather than who we are for.”

Wow. This moves me almost to the point of tears.
I think of Jesus. He didn’t have to have an anti-abortion or a boy + girl = marriage bumper sticker on the back end of his donkey to let others know He valued life and marriage. He lived those values, while loving the people who hadn’t gotten there yet.
The bumper stickers, public condemnation, division, and judgment is the stuff of Pharisees.
Who are you going to follow?

7 comments:

  1. This is sad but unfortunately true, people feel judgment instead of love from Christianity. I loved your analogy of Jesus on his donkey :)

    I admit I used to be one of those anti's, I'm working on it and I'm much better now...

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  2. If you love the sinner, often the saints will kill you.

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  3. I had the most troubling realization just last night, so we are on the same page here. The ONLY exposure to bigotry & experiences with racism that my children have ever had have all come from Church, both from leaders & members of the Body. This broke my heart & confused me so badly. Shouldn't that be the one safe place that I don't have to protect them from such destructive & wrong ideas?

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  4. I wouldn't need to read the article to know this is true - I was one of the non Christians that had very unflattering things to say (and say them I did) about born again Christians. And yet still, here I am today by the grace of God, a born again Christian. My experience has been that most Christians, like most people in general are wonderful, but flawed (myself included). There are a few jerks out there, like everywhere else, but I do not agree with other Christians flaming the church for the actions of a few. There are always at a minimum two sides to every story and saying so and so did this may be one point of view but doesn't there have to be another? I have found that no matter what one person does for the good of someone else, there is always someone out there that wants to negate that good by saying yeah, but what about...
    Everyone can not be everything to everyone, so we are all out there doing what we individually and as a church group feel called to do. The t-shirt that irritates so many people, may be a conversation starter for someone else. I myself do not do bumper stickers of any kind, but must we put down those who want to proudly state to the world that they love the lord? Yes I roll my eyes too, but its just a different way of thinking, and I can be open to it. I can't help but think that Jesus is going to be harder on me who is a keep it to myself go about my business live and let live kind of person, than the person who is out there telling people that the Gospel is real and that there are some things in this world that are for real wrong no matter how kind you try to be about it.
    Anyhow, Satan's gotta be lovin it - don't you think?

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  5. I wanted to reply here since this seems to be sparking a conversation to Jblieu’s comments. The study wasn’t done among those categorizing themselves as non-Christians – but among young people who had been in the church. That is the saddest part of all. If the church is becoming known as condemning, hypocritical and judgmental, then they will no doubt be drawn in by the world – that says whoever you are is okay. I am not saying we compromise truth – but that we don’t have to hit people on the head with it.
    There are two sides to every story – but I think this is a general consensus and not just hurt feelings over a personal experience. We all have them – and have to have grace and mercy even within the church with one another that covers those situations. I heard Brian McLaren on a podcast this past week saying it is not the idea that you are “right” about something that is dangerous – it is what you do with it. Such as Christians in the Civil war era condoning slavery believing that African Americans were descendents from Ham – the cursed race in the Bible.
    Personally the slim possibility that a bumper sticker would provoke serious conversation is not worth the condemnation it throws on people who will never talk to you because you have already put it out there in a very one dimensional plastic adhesive statement what you believe – outside or relationship it means nothing.
    Just my thoughts – thank you for sharing yours.

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  6. A quote I've grown to love and try to live *thank you Tina for turning me on to it*..

    "Preach the gospel at all times -- If necessary, use words."
    Saint Francis of Assisi

    I need to read the book we have here somewhere.
    " When Bad Christians Happen to Good People"

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Awaiting your words......
♥ Juls ♥