- Love (and what on earth does that mean?)
For me, one of the challenges with which many of my Christian friends identify, is how to react when non-Christians are disrespectful of my faith. If it’s from a friend it’s generally an unintentional slur but I can’t help taking it a little personally.
I know a lot of it is a reaction to the wrongs of the church and hypocritical Christians but I also think it’s often a lack of knowledge and understanding. I was a cynic (and still am to a certain degree) but the age we live in teaches us to be so. We also live in a society where conformity is seen as boring and restricting and I think this is the way a lot of people (I speak for my own generation) see Christianity. I used to think Christianity would limit me instead of having the opposite effect.
A few weeks back at a St Barnie's service, we sang an old hymn called ‘Stand up, stand up for Jesus’. I’m not the biggest of singers (if you don’t count the shower) but I love this song and just writing it down now makes me want to belt it out (its catchy in an ‘Onward Christian soldiers’ kind of way). Having the topic weighing on my heart this song gives me courage.
So what do we do when someone has a go at our faith? Something I once read and that has stuck with me, is that the highest form of ignorance is to judge something you don’t fully understand. So if knowledge is power, let us empower ourselves and others by growing our faith and knowledge of God and the Christian faith. Non-confrontationally, tell people if you feel uncomfortable by their comments and why. Invite them to Church so they can learn the answers for themselves (I don’t pretend to have half the answers but I’m okay with that and my journey has only just begun). Let’s try and be ‘consistant’ Christians so our friends can see what the joy of being a child of Christ is through us. ‘Stand up, stand up for Jesus, ye soldiers of the cross’!
He was a modernist ... a clever person, well educated, and believed we had all we need in ourselves to achieve anything.
She was a church attendee, but had never wrestled with the realities of knowing Jesus, and the implications for personal lifestyles.
The child was inquisitive, but the parents fed him palatable, sugary, simplistic feel-good stories about God, and he was weak.
The retiree was in his comfort zone, a secured pension and on the lookout for pleasure.
The teenage couple thought they would live for ever, sex was recreational, and church was a crypt for the ignorance of the past.
The environmentalist believed all good was found in nature, and meditation and faith in human kindness would see the world aright.
The marathon runner found her peace in the total immersion in her physical abilities, living on the high of extreme exertion.
The cynic said life had no meaning as he lavished attention on his cat, the surfer lived the life of a modern day anarchist, the engineer found meaning in constructions, the investor saw security in money, the politician reveled in superiority and power, the atheist had faith that there was no God.
The almost-christian ... oh the sad little christian who lived in pretense as he passed uncomfortably through society, a chameleon ever apologizing to God for his guilt.
But, God's true lovers put a spanner in the works of the world. All at the same time being a knife, a light, a comfort, a warrior, a peace maker, a listener, a confronter, a thinker, a convention breaker, a giver, a server, a faith builder -- walking not the middle road but always definitive of Truth, humbly imperfect.
Is there a God? Yes. Is He a person? Yes. Does He want to know me? Yes. Can I know him? Yes. Is He worth knowing? Yes, beyond my wildest dreams. How do I find Him? Look beyond the myths of the institutionalized religion, have courage to leave your comfort zone, be honest with your reasoning, and you'll find Him standing in plain sight before you.
Jesus: rational, defensible, testable, true.