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Lots of Answers but No Question

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Public perception - that’s what I’ve been thinking about lately. To be a bit more specific, what is the public perception of Christianity?

What sparked these thoughts were the (now old news) infamous cartoons found in the U of Sask. paper entitled “The Sheaf”. There have been many blog postings on this topic in the past couple weeks. (Gil Dueck's, Dan King's - also see his 2 previous posts - and Derek Turner's to mention a few). I really don’t want to get into details about this cartoon because it brings up hurt feelings every time I do (which is also why I have waited so long to put up this post) but basically the cartoon depicts Jesus in a compromising position with a “capitalist pig”. (Thanks Gil for the eloquent wording.)

Then I read Jared’s post regarding a movie critique done by a Christian magazine (you can read Jared’s post here). Jared’s post pointed out some disappointing truths about how we as Christians tend to judge and point fingers at other peoples moral decisions.

To follow that up, I also read some interesting thoughts in the book “Organic Church” (which we have just started studying as a care group). In the first chapter it talks about how we as Christians tend to sit in our ‘fortresses’ we call Churches, and complain about how bad the world is.

Somewhere in the middle of all this I started reading “The Journey of Desire” (which I mentioned in my last post). John Eldridge says this:

“A Curious warning is given to us in Peter’s first epistle. There he tells us to be ready to give a reason for the hope that lies within us to everyone who asks (3:15). Now, what’s strange about this passage is this: no one ever asks. When was the last time someone stopped you to inquire about the reason for the hope that lies within you? You’re at the market, say in the frozen food section. A friend you haven’t seen for some time comes up to you, grasps you by the shoulders, and pleads, “Please, you’ve got to tell me. Be honest now. How can you live with such hope? Where does it come from? I must know the reason.”

All this brings me back to this same question, how are we perceived as Christians? Does the world truly see us as the U of S cartoonist shows it? Judging by the article in the Christian magazine that Jared wrote about maybe that isn’t so far off. Maybe we as Christians need to quit worrying about other people’s moral decisions, get out of our Church ‘fortresses’ and start being more passionate about the hope we do have.

Don’t get me wrong, I am terribly hurt by the cartoon and it should never have made it to print. But, the fact that it was even drawn suggests that something is wrong with the how the world sees us. The fact that this is the way the world sees us as Christians says that we need to make some changes in how we treat the world. And the fact that no one has ever asked me about the hope that lies within me suggests that I should live my life with a lot more passion.

Does it simply come down to our desires? If I were to desire eternity more and live my life full of passion due to the hope I have in the saving grace of Jesus Christ, would people ask me about the hope that lies within me? Hmmm….wouldn’t it be great if the warning in 1Peter 3:15 was actually applicable for North American Christians?

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  1. Blogger Gil | 2:06 PM |  

    Well said Dave. This is a good reminder.

  2. Blogger Jared | 4:55 PM |  

    to tell the horrible truth i think we are perceived this way to the real world. christians are to often seen as stuck up nincompoops who seem to know everything. well i can tell you that i dont know everything and if i have proclaimed to in a serious manner than i am just as bad as all the rest of sinful christians... thanks dave for the reminder

  3. Blogger dan | 6:51 PM |  

    the timing of these thoughts is ideal. in may, the next big "anti-christian" (??) movie will come out: the diVinci code" and christians will once again be focused on as we respond to it. how will we paint ourselves this time around ...

    ::dan::

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