“To begin with, there were the Pharisees. They disliked Christ, and they said so. They resented the intrusion of this layperson—and an ill-educated man at that—into their domain. His teaching, or much of it, seemed to them sheer blasphemy. His habits they thought disgusting. You can always tell people by the company they keep, they sneered, and glanced scornfully at the rabble with whom Christ was not ashamed to mingle. Yet they were zealously religious people, keen churchgoing folk, as we would say, more keen and zealous by far than we are. They prayed, they fasted, they disciplined themselves along lines that might well make us much ashamed. They were good people in their way, devout and desperately in earnest, so far as they saw.” —Arthur John Gossip
A person with a fish emblem on the back of their car sped across the back of the Fred Meyers parking lot to make sure they beat me to the parking lot intersection. On the opposite side of the intersection was a car decorated with Oregon Duck flags. If their roles had been reversed I would have thought nothing, but when folks make a show of saying they are a Christian, well, I have an expectation.
Years ago Lily and I helped a pastor friend and his wife start a church. I remember always being uncomfortable with his driving. It just didn’t seem right that a pastor would be such an aggressive driver.
Is it wrong to expect character from someone who is religious? I understand we are all human. We all screw up, but if someone is intentional about proclaiming who or what they are, shouldn’t we expect some similarity between them and the person or thing they want to emulate?
It’s no secret Christianity is becoming more and more unpopular in America, but the problem isn’t Christianity, the problem is the Christian claim2bes.
If someone asks you if you are a person of faith, do you believe in God, are you religious, and you answer yes, I’m a Buddhist, I’m a Jew, whatever, anything but a Christian, no eyebrows will rise. If, however, you say you are a Christian to someone who isn’t, there is often an immediate uncomfortable feeling. If you are beginning a new relationship with someone who isn’t a Christian you almost always start in a hole.
People are not born this way, they are made this way and the fault is not the media’s. We bring it on ourselves with our repugnant air of superiority and judgment. Jesus said judge not least you be judged. Do we really want others to be as unkind, thoughtless and unforgiving as we are? Do we want the world to conform to our way of doing things or to be transformed by spending time with Jesus? If we really want transformation then we are the ones who need to spend time with Jesus.