How do you treat people who are different than you?
There was a time, before I started following Jesus, that I thought all Christians were unthinking whack-jobs filled with hatred. There’s a lot of evidence out there to support that viewpoint.
For example, when I was in Pensacola, a lot of us flight students would go hang out at an Irish pub on Friday nights. (Apparently it’s still there.) Like clockwork we could count on a small church crowd on the corner across the street. They’d be waving signs and yelling through a bullhorn about how all of us were going to hell simply because we were going into the pub. I remember they had a tendency to point out specific people through via their bullhorn hoping for some attention.
I wanted to go over and ask them if they realized no one was listening. And explain that all their shouting and sign waving was a huge turn off for me. I got the feeling that they were trying to convince me to come around to their way of seeing things but their approach was having the totally opposite effect. If I had to be like them to get to heaven then it didn’t sound like someplace I’d want to hang out anyway.
Eventually I was able to separate the person of Jesus from some of his more inept followers, but I get the feeling that a lot of people look at Christians the way I did, and many Christians give them good reason.
Which brings me to the point of this post. One of the resources I read faithfully as I learn this blogging thing is ProBlogger.net. Darren Rowse posted a great interview today. The title is certainly eye catching. Baptist Minister Interviews Adult Webmaster about Bloggingâ€¦.
I knew Darren was a pastor. I found some of his other blogs a while back via his About Darren page, including LivingRoom, which is about the house church he leads.
What impressed me most about the interview is that it came out of a relationship with this guy that Darren already had. And it came about because the guy apparently first reached out to Darren. (Oh, and I learned a couple more good pointers too.)
More Christians should be like that, spending time and getting to know people who are different and don’t think like they do.
The other thing I saw this week is that a Christian group has created a stir by reaching out to the porn industry. xxxchurch.com recently published a version of the Bible with a cover that says “Jesus Loves Porn Stars”. Apparently some Christians are upset because they feel that this is somehow disrespectful to scripture.
I don’t get it. I don’t have a degree in it or anything, but I have done some pretty serious theology study on my own. And I’m not aware of any theological school of thought that claims the Bible’s cover is divinely inspired. It is the contents that are important, not the packaging.
But then there are way too many Christians who are more concerned with appearances than with substance or reality. Jesus had some pretty harsh things to say about religious people in his day that were overly focused on appearances.
“How terrible it will be for you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! You are so careful to clean the outside of the cup and the dish, but inside you are filthy–full of greed and self-indulgence! Blind Pharisees! First wash the inside of the cup, and then the outside will become clean, too.
“How terrible it will be for you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs–beautiful on the outside but filled on the inside with dead people’s bones and all sorts of impurity. You try to look like upright people outwardly, but inside your hearts are filled with hypocrisy and lawlessness.
Christians would do a whole lot better to listen to Jesus and treat people more like Darren and the folks at xxxchurch.com.
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