Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Not Mentioning Pat

Church lady...

Pursed lips,

Pointing finger,

Holier-than-thou attitude.

Why is this the caricature of a Christian?

Is it any wonder the media represents Christians as people who are angry and judgmental? Can't we see the energy spent on boycotts and protests has backfired? Don't we yet realize that the message sent is more damaging to the gospel than any supposed influence we would have?

The following quote from Donald Miller says it well:
We sometimes take a Darwinian approach with love—if we are against somebody's ideas, we starve them out. If we disagree with somebody's political ideas, or sexual identity, we just don't "pay" them. We refuse to "condone the behavior" by offering any love.

This approach has created a Christian culture that is completely unaware what the greater culture thinks of us. We don't interact with people who don't validate our ideas. If I withhold love, then people believe I have met a God that makes me a hateful and vicious person. And they're repelled.

I think it's time to quit worrying about being right, and start being a light.

Where is the love?
Where is the hope?
Where is the grace?


Pam Hogeweide said...

You quoted one of my fave new authors, and a local from my home city, Portland.

I've read two of his books and have a third one in line waiting to be read. As a writer, I want to be like him!

Yes, another good word, EG, about how the glorious bride of Jesus has somehow managed to morph into The Church Lady.

I have hope - God loves us too much to write us off.

eija said...

Wow, good stuff. So good! This is exactly what I'm longing for.

We don't need to be "right" or have the last word. We can leave that to God, I think. Being obsessive about "being right" is pride - plain and simple pride. It's not our business to correct the world. God will take care of it. If not sooner, then later.

Let's let Him be the God and mind our own business: Sharing the light and the love.

I just wish I could be better in that :(


David Cho said...

Good post.

As erroneous as perceptions can be, we have to think about how we contribute to the bad perceptions instead of responding with lame bumper stickers like "Christians aren't perfect. They are forgiven." Often we have nobody to blame but us for the unfortunate stereotypes.

John Frye said...

Grace, I'm struck by the impact of your precise wording, "I think it's time to quit worrying about being right, and start being a light." Fantastic!

grace said...

I have his books on my "need to read" list. Have you met him in person? It's so fortunate that you live near where things are happening.

grace said...

Eija, David, John,
Thanks for your comments.

I haven't been around for a couple of days due to a minor household catastrophe.

Blessings to you!

Pam Hogeweide said...


No, I haven't met Miller, but I did hear him speak at a literary event here in Portland last spring. He gave us a preview of his upcoming book of which I cannot remember the title - perhaps of a
case of CRS! :-)

The church he attends here in Portland, and also writes about with great affection is called Imago Dei. It is THE hottest, trendiest church to go to in Portland right now. I'm sure part of it is because of Miller but also the leadership, I hear, is very effective at sharing the love and Person of Jesus with young people. I know several people who now attend there, and one friend is inviting me to go to church with her tommorrow at Imago Dei.

Yes, Miller is a good and insightful writer. I like what he says and the way he says it.

I'm told, however, that some of the leadership team at our church did not like Blue Like Jazz so one leader was not given the green light to freely give copies away to high school students like he wanted to. One pastors wife personally told me that she felt Miller was flippant about immorality in BLJ. I read the book later and did not have that impression at all.