Thursday, November 30, 2006
Staying away from Christianity for good reasons
Tonight our church's Vision Team was meeting to discuss evangelism. Our conversation turned to the fact that many people stay away from Christianity because they've been presented with a bad version of it. For a lot of people, to become a Christian (at least of the type that they've seen) would be a step backwards in their moral and personal development. As Brian McLaren says in his book, More Ready Than You Realize, "We Christians often talk about changed lives, but we fail to see that to many of our neighbors, the changes that occur with conversion are not all for the good."

What I think a lot of Christians don't realize is that there are a lot of people who stay away from Christianity because not because they are immoral or bad people, but because to them Christianity often appears immoral and bad. Brian goes on to write in that same book:

Part of the revulsion of some people [to Christianity] has to do with them loving their selfishness, sexual promiscuity, arrogance, racism, resentments, self-righteousness, and materialism so much that they want to stay far from anything that will challenge or threaten their status quo. But much of the revulsion to Christianity in many people is trying to tell us something about ourselves as Christians, something that we don't want to hear but need to hear: (1) our faith has too often become for us just another rigid belief system instead of a unique, joyful way of living, loving, and serving; (2) our concern for getting our own and others' souls into heaven after we die has too often seduced us into neglecting our call to seek justice and mercy here and now on this earth; and (3) faith has too often become for us a set of easy answers and cardboard explanations instead of a window into unfathomable mystery and a pathway into an awesome adventure.


All this, I think, is true; and it is one more reason why perhaps we need to first convert Christians to the way of Jesus before we can expect to convert anyone else.

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posted by Mike Clawson at 10:22 PM | Permalink |


4 Comments:


At 12/02/2006 10:16:00 AM, Anonymous Joshua Case

Mike

I've also found that with many people here in Geneva (Switzerland) many of the issues related to people's choosing to do life in the way of Jesus has to do with the way that Christianity is/has chosen recently to truly be about life on earth (or not).

For many people, because Christianity has become so much about knowing what will happen to you when you die, people see little need to follow it while they live.

In short, people often feel like they're being asked to follow something or someone that has little relevance for now.

The reality is, the way of Jesus, is deeply concerned with how to live now; to be active, to be political, to be adventurous, to be loving. Most people however, wouldn't call this the message of evangelism.

 

At 12/02/2006 09:55:00 PM, Blogger Mike Clawson

Well said, Joshua. I agree. Evangelism should be about inviting people into that way of life. It's not our job to make sure they're "getting into heaven". Let God worry about that. Let's just show them what it means to live like Jesus.

 

At 12/04/2006 04:10:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous

Visiting your blog I could not resist in answering your post. Obviously, you have not known the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the New Testament. Today, in our church, the homosexuals are made whole, the sick are healed miraculously by God's power. If this God-given power to the church does not fire you up - nothing will. You are living a dead religion that is powerless. The Gospel is not about finding ways of making new friends and adapting to them but telling them they MUST repent, accept Jesus as the ONLY way to Salvation and regeneration. The Gospel is not about being soft when it comes to declare the absolute truth in the Bible. Jesus is the only way to heaven. Nonetheless, the Gospel is the only message with God's answers to a hopeless EC generation.

 

At 12/04/2006 05:23:00 PM, Blogger Mike Clawson

You know, on second thought, I think I'll let these anonymous comments stay for now. They do a better job of caricaturing the kind of fundamentalist faith that I really want nothing to do with than I ever could. Thanks, Nony Mouse, for reminding me of the kind of faith that I have moved past and never want to return to.

 

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