Monday, July 10, 2006

Big Ole Can O'Worms

So I've kind of avoided the subject of religion here for a variety of reasons. Not the least of which is that I shrink from conflict like a glacier from a volcano and I know that religion can stir up a lot of conflict. Another reason is that I'm always afraid that I'm going to be asked the "tough" questions about my faith and I hate saying, "I just don't know" or "Well, you just have to have faith". I have friends who have fabulous answers for all sorts of questions. I just freeze. I'm afraid that I'm going to seriously offend someone or that someone just won't like me because I'm Christian, etc. So I avoid the subject.

But not right now. I have some stuff on my mind.

I know that a lot of people are offended and annoyed by Christians who try to share their faith. (I also know that there are a lot of completely obnoxious Christians out there who are very pushy! We're just going to leave them out of it for now.) If people really know and understand Christianity, I would think that they would be offended and annoyed if we DON'T try to share our faith. We believe that Christ is the only way to reconcile with the Father and, therefore, be with Him in eternity. That path is open to anyone. Anyone at all. (Yes, it's exclusive - there are no other roads to heaven - but it's inclusively exclusive. All you have to do is believe.) Now if I believe that only those who accept Christ will be with Him in eternity, and I choose not to share that information with you, wouldn't you be a little offended? Wouldn't you wonder why I didn't think that you were good enough to share that very important tidbit with? As I was thinking about it, I kind of equated it to knowing that there was a place where you could go and get a free car - any car that you'd like - complete with gas and maintenance for life and all you had to do was go to this place and say, "Please". If I went and got a brand new dream car and started driving it around and didn't tell anyone else that they could get a free car, too, what would that say about me? What would people think when they found out? I know that some people prefer to walk and some just like to ride their bike or the bus. That is their choice. But wouldn't they appreciate me telling them anyway?

A few weeks back we had a series in our Sunday School class about what it means to be a Christian in today's world. Why does the word "Christian" put off so many people? Why do some people think that they wouldn't be welcome in a church? Why do some people loathe the idea of coming into a church? Is it Christ? Or is it His followers? We talked about and debated those ideas for several weeks. It was sobering. It made me look at myself and wonder what non-Christians see. What kind of messages am I giving off? Am I someone who people want to know? Am I someone who people want to flee? Are they surprised when they find out that I'm a Christian? And if they are, is that good or bad?!?

(I feel that I'm not really getting to any specific point - that I'm just rambling. But that's okay! It's my blog! I'm trying to work something out here!)

A few years ago I had a conversation that I wish 1) I could remember all of and 2) I wish I could have again so I could defend myself and my faith better. I was working for a small business that provided after school classes. We rented space at several places around town - one place being a church. The church stated in the contract that people who came into their building and rented space to conduct classes could not display any anti-Christian or Pagan symbols while they were there. I forget the exact wording. I had to let the owner of the business know about that clause because one of her instructors was a Pagan and wore Pagan symbols on rings and necklaces. I must have said something about Pagans that she didn't like because later she confronted me about it. She said that she knew I was a Christian, but hadn't pegged me for being judgmental. I honestly don't know what I said! But her confrontation got me thinking. How many times had I sat in meetings in that business and listened to most of them make fun of Christians and/or Christian holidays and not said anything. I just sat there thinking that that was their own opinion and I didn't want to be the party pooper. I didn't laugh and I didn't take part, but I didn't defend myself. Now I say one thing (and I still don't remember what it was) and all of a sudden I was called on the carpet. She was also pretty ticked about the clause in the contract. She wanted to look for another location, but the brochures had already been printed.

Think about the clause, though. We were asking to use a church. Christians revere their churches as a place of worship. We even go so far as to call a church "God's house". It stands to reason that they would not want someone who appears to have authority (like an instructor) come into God's house displaying Pagan symbols. What kind of faith and devotion would the church leaders have if they allowed that? Just like a vegan restaurant would not allow you to rent their party room for a demonstration on how to cook with beef.

Please don't think that I'm trying to play a "Christian victim" here. I don't really feel victimized. I just notice things. Discrepancies in behavior, in others and in myself, when it comes to the topic of religion.

Now, recalling my previous claim that I can't stand conflict, I hope that I haven't offended or weirded out any readers here. I say that Cabin 77 is where I am myself. This is me. I am a Christian. I will post more on my faith at some point in the future. To tell the truth, most of my friends in everyday life are Christian. My blog is where I get opinions and points of view based on different world views and different faiths. I enjoy that! Please feel free to comment, but please be kind. Remember the picture of the volcano and the glacier. And don't worry, I'll go back to posting about the kids soon. Buddy putting Band-Aids on his nostrils is infinitely more entertaining than dry posts about religion!

And now I will close. I had a big day today. This morning I led about 500 kids in singing songs about God in Vacation Bible School. So, of course, I had to question my religion! LOL! Would you trust your child with me?!? ;-)

No comments: