Came across this rant from Paul at The Generous Husband. Good reality check for us all.
A question for those of use who try to follow Jesus - how does the world view "Christians"? How about the following:
o small minded
o out of touch with the world
o too political
o unconcerned about poverty, the homeless, the hungry, the environment, and world peace
That is my list based on what I hear from folks, including some non-Christians who receive my tips. A study by George Barna backs up some of those things, and you don't have to look far to see all of the above, and worse, being said by a growing number of people.
We've become something that no sane person would want to be - or are we wrongly viewed as such? Is what the world thinks of us very wrong, or is there a great deal of truth to it? Sure, we can point out all kinds of good, but we can also point out a lot of bad, if we are willing to be honest. Hate-mongering in the name of Christianity is common. A lot of folks who are struggling financially have received far more help from secular, non-profit groups than from faith based groups - why are those who don't know Jesus doing what He called us to do better than we are? Why do they exist in small offices so most of what they collect goes to help, while we sit in expensive buildings that leave almost nothing to give to those who need help? Why is it all the unsaved hear from Christians is that they are going to hell, rather than about how Jesus loves them - and how we love them because we are following Jesus? Why do we invite them to come in, when Jesus told us to go out to them? Jesus hung with the poor, the sinners, "even with prostitutes" - we avoid "that kind of people" as if being with them will somehow make us dirty.
Clearly what we are seen as is not something most would want to be a part of. How do we change that? How do we change the perception? We must change the reality! Seems to me we have to change first ourself, and then we have to work on others who claim to follow Jesus. We need to correct those in our camp who are not following the Lord, and if they won't change, we need to let the world know that they are not a part of us, they are not attempting to follow the Lord, but are doing something else. How can we sit by an allow others to claim to do something wrong, something evil, in the name of Jesus? Would we sit by and allow folks to be killed in the name of Jesus? History is full of "Christians" who did this - The Crusades, The Spanish Inquisition, witch burning, lynching of blacks, and murder of Jews were all done in the name of Jesus - and many did not say "they don't follow my Jesus" out of fear. What about us, will we also sit by in fear, or apathy, as others drag the name of Jesus through the mud once again?