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Why not try this?

March 1, 2014

One of the oddest things I noticed in the days after the 9/11 terrorist attacks was the way that investigative reporters ran around the country exposing how shockingly vulnerable all our key national services were to terrorist attacks.  Reporters from all sources did detailed stories about how easy it would be to sabotage our power supply, food supply, water supply, schools, malls, tourist attractions and just about everything.

Some of the reports were quite creative, even going so far as to sneak into such facilities and record themselves saying that “if we were terrorists” the place would be toast now.  Others were a bit absurd.  I saw one reporter standing next to a food silo in Nebraska saying how easy it was for him to get access to it.  I’m sure nobody in rural Nebraska would be even slightly suspicious to see a group of young Muslim men hanging around.

I couldn’t help but think that the whole exercise was sort of a “Why not try this?” primer for would-be terrorists.  No longer was it necessary to do all the dangerous research to find targets to attack themselves; now all they had to do was watch the national and local news and take notes.  While the incidence of such reports has gone down they still are with us.

Of late I’ve started to think that we evangelicals are on a similar mission.  We see the rising tide of negative publicity about our faith.  We see reports that 31% of young evangelicals who leave the church say their primary reason for doing so was because they see the church as hateful toward gays, women and other religions.  We bemoan negative press coverage and blame it for every hostile reaction people have toward us.  We need to do something.

Our response?  Let’s try every tactic, plan and pronouncement that is sure to foster and encourage the world to see us as hate-filled loonies.  Let’s boycott stores that dare to say “Happy Holidays” in December.  Let’s pass laws giving us the right to deny our services to people we disagree with.  The list could go on and on.

Not only do these things all but assure we will be get negative publicity, they become primers for those who truly do not like us on how to annoy and fluster us.  I really, really doubt that gay couples who are getting married actually want their wedding photographer to be someone who stands around scowling because he was forced to take their pictures.  But what the recent furor over this issue has done is to tell the world that this is a really good way to get our goat.

Last week our pastor gave a homily on evangelism.  I am sure he was one of tens of thousands of evangelical pastors who did so.  He emphasized the need to be “winsome” in our approach to unbelievers.  OK, good idea.  But sadly we are swimming in a sea of non-winsome information.  I’m getting close to believing that our evangelism is being eclipsed by our de-evangelism; organized efforts that assure we are seen as anything other than winsome.

The truth is that there are indeed some people out there who are determined to dislike Christians; perhaps even to do our faith harm.  Let’s stop giving them ammunition.  Let’s stop making them look like the protectors of freedom from what is seen as our harmful influences.  Let’s stop acting like poster boys for their efforts.  Let’s become more widely known for our desire to serve others than our attempts to refuse services.


From → Christianity

  1. Dan permalink

    All I can say is – Amen

  2. Kyle permalink

    Really great post.

  3. Reblogged this on earth535.

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