So I was reading a book called unChristian, which you may have heard of–it’s about a research study enacted by a Christian group to elucidate the opinion that outsiders have of Christianity. The book itself is kind of a snooze–while the message is good, it’s much more oriented towards people who don’t seem to realize that Christianity today has an image problem. I don’t count myself among that group.
It has gotten me thinking in another direction though. One of the things that I read about was a pastor who gave a series of talks–I can’t remember the exact name, but the basic gist of it was that he, as a Christian, was going to “confession”, and confessing his sins to the non-Christian community. It was five talks, with titles like “We’re Sorry for Our Treatment of Homosexuals” and “We’re Sorry For The Crusades” and so on. I found this very refreshing, and a good way of fighting the hypocritical image the Church seems to have these days.
I had been having other thoughts recently–specifically, I’ve been thinking that while I call myself a Christian, I don’t typically find myself DOING Christian things on a daily basis. I just sort of live my life as I would if I weren’t a Christian–taking care of myself and my family, doing my job, having some fun where I can, and all around just trying to be a nice guy. When the opportunity to talk about Christianity presents itself, I jump on it–but more and more I’m realizing that myself, and even Christians I would consider far more advanced in the service of the Lord than I, have a tendency to want to get together and TALK about God for a while and then go home and act like their obligations as Christians are fulfilled. My brother’s abortive attempt to attend the Urbana conference was a large factor in this realization.
My weekly Wednesday night Church group has just gotten into the Alpha program. This will be the fourth time I attend Alpha, and I while I have a great deal of respect for the content of the program, I don’t feel like it takes an approach to evangelism that speaks at all to my generation. I see a lot of faces at those meetings that have attended Alpha a lot more times than I have, and I fear that it’s become a repetitive exercise–we want to feel as though we’re helping make disciples of other people by attending these small group meetings with them, but by now they’re 80% full of other long-committed Christians just like us.
At the same time, I was thinking of approaching my Wednesday group now that our advent bible study is over and saying “Okay guys, I think it’s time for us to really pack up and DO something; let’s go do some volunteer work or some such”, but the Wednesday group isn’t really prepared to do that–they’re committed to Alpha for the next several weeks.
This leaves me with the following:
- The feeling that as a Christian, it’s time for me (and my fellow Christians) to talk less and take more action
- The feeling that if evangelism is to have an effect on members of our generation, it must do so first not by telling the story of Jesus Christ, but by correcting the image of Christians as judgmental, hypocritical, and hate-filled
- The feeling that I have a gift (from God) for working with online communities
I feel like I am hearing a call from God here. I feel like I’m being called to:
- Inspire Christians to take direct, loving action to help and support their fellow man, without judgement or demands
- Represent Christianity to non-Christians in a way that defies their negative expectations of Christianity
…and here’s the scary one:
- Lead a community of Christians to do the same things.
I’m scared of this but I’m really starting to think I’m being asked to do it. I’m talking to you guys about it because now that I’m starting to have an idea of the WHAT, I need to figure out the HOW.
All I’ve got right now is that I feel like the place to get started is Facebook.