Sunday, September 28, 2008

UnChristian - Part 6

Ok, so this is the last perception that Kinnaman deals with in his book UnChristian: Christians are prideful and quick to find faults in others.

Pride. The chief of all sins according to C.S. Lewis. This perception is one that we really need to hear. When we speak to those outside of the church, many feel that we are simply more interested in proving that we are right than we are in sharing about God, or about caring for the person with whom we are speaking. Many said that we simply love to hear ourselves talk, and we have no interest in hearing what someone else believes. "Nearly nine out of ten outsiders said that the term judgmental accurately describes present day Christianity" (182). Later, he says "Arrogance is perhaps the most socially acceptable form of sin in the church today" (191). Wow. We've got a big problem.

Given the fact that the Bible makes it pretty clear that God alone is the judge, not us - what are we thinking? Why do we see so many Christians who view it as their personal mission to let people know that God hates them, or that they are some how less worthy of God's grace than we are? That grace thing is sneaky isn't it? It's like we come to God in a moment of complete need and desperation and we experience unmerited grace. And then we spend the rest of our Christian lives pretending we deserved it.

Kinnaman finds six things that outsiders told him could help reduce this perception. They all boil down to respect. I suggest we follow all six really closely.

1. Listen to me - talk less. Pretty simple.
2. Don't label me - using words like "lost", "pagan", or "nonchristian" aren't particularly endearing.
3. Don't be so smart - Don't pretend to know everything. It's ok to say "I don't know".
4. Put yourself in my place - This comes with really listening. Try to understand where they are coming from.
5. Be genuine - don't try to inject spirituality into every conversation whether it fits or not.
6. Be my friend with no other motives - don't befriend someone for the purpose of one day inviting them to church. It's fake, and people see right through it.


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