tonight’s [now yesterday’s] unchristian lecture: take two

September 24, 2008

So anyway, the top six critiques aimed at Christians are as follows: they’re judgmental, hypocritical, sheltered, antihomosexual, too political, & proselytizers.

Whether or not the research/polls reflect actual experiences Christians have had with non-Christians (or vice versa), these findings constitute the need for some important conversation.  Reality or mere perception, the fact of the matter is that something underneath all of this is shaping the perspective of our culture as it views the Christian (sub-culture?).  Some form of Christian externalization (i.e., Christian-expression) is giving way to objectification (fixed beliefs/systems/structures), such that ALL of us (Christian or no) smile and nod (frown?!) knowingly at the one-dimensional “Christian” taking stage.  (It must be said: that Christian isn’t exactly lauded amongst either saints or sinners.)  Something seems to have gone awry …

I think one of the most important questions raised during last night’s lecture was addressed to Christians in the room: how do you (intentionally or unintentionally) reinforce such common (mis)perceptions?  (Implicit here: how do you wish to be known?  How are you working for/against that?)

Also thought-provoking: what are the unique challenges & opportunities associated with these reigning perceptions (about “the Christian”)?

As I pondered these questions, I settled on three different “ways of being” I think Christians ought to further explore.  They involve our approach to: our language (how might we encourage & host the most important questions about our faith?), our proximity (how might we be more present — or more meaningful in our presence — in spaces not yet transformed by God’s redemption?), and our fear (how might we release concerns about our own [spiritual, physical, emotional] safety & well-being in order to follow Christ in faith and obedience?)

Our approach to all of the above feels tenuous to me.  Pitfalls, I suppose, exist at every turn.  (Beyond that, isn’t such arbitrary analysis [such as I’ve undertaken here] wrong-headed from the start?  Who ever thinks she’s become that [judgmental, hypocritical, sheltered, antihomosexual, critical, oober-evangelistic] Christian?!  Better to simply get on with the business of being who God’s called you to be, no matter the perceptions?  After all, it may be only your pride pushing you to be a Christian of the other kind.)

I dunno.  (Much.)

But I do know I tried (just a little more) to be (just a little less) “Christian” when tonite over dinner I found myself in discussion about homosexuality & politically incorrect humor.  Waving back the cigarette smoke, I sat and wondered at the grace that made Jesus the unlikely (unChristian) hero of the one & only Christian story.  May that Jesus be born in me.


4 Responses to “tonight’s [now yesterday’s] unchristian lecture: take two”

  1. Spring Says:

    have you read the book? sounds interesting

  2. jt Says:

    Spring: great to have your voice here! I’ve not yet read this book, but have wondered what it might be like to tackle it with a few of my non-Christian friends. (That or Left Behind. We’ll see.)

    Seriously, after this lecture, I wondered if it may be an important read for me. Lemme know if you decide to pick it up; maybe we could plan a book discussion or two!

  3. Alamanach Says:

    “So anyway, the top six critiques aimed at Christians are as follows: they’re judgmental, hypocritical, sheltered, antihomosexual, too political, & proselytizers.”

    That’s a funny list, seeing as how Jesus is the one who put forward the values that these critics are operating from. Being judgmental was the most natural thing in the world until Jesus said “Judge not, lest ye be judged.” Jesus was sharply critical of hypocrites, Jesus sent his apostles out into the world, Jesus is the one who introduced the idea of loving society’s pariahs, and Jesus is the one who suggested we render unto Ceasar what is Ceasar’s, thus laying the foundation for the separation of church and state. And they accuse us of prostelytizing? Sheesh!

    It is important not to confuse a religion’s teachings with its adherents. Christianity’s teachings are good. If some of its followers are not, then those people need to focus on being more Christian, not less.

  4. jt Says:

    Well said.

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