Thanks to Robb (@changingworship) for highlighting this brilliant and cutting piece by Bill Maher in the US. Be aware that it has swearing in it. Also I feel it will probably make us Christians feel a little uncomfortable – if it’s only the swearing that does that then I applaud you.
The thing is that non-Christians have long been able to better tell how Christians should be behaving than we seem to be. “That’s not a very Christian thing to do”, “I thought you were a Christian?” – that kind of thing. We dismiss it with “I’m not perfect” and “God isn’t finished with me yet” but we need to ask are they right when they make such accusations and also why do they make them in the first place? For some reason they expect more of us than we often expect of ourselves. Maher says: “If you ignore every thing Jesus commanded you to do then you’re not his followers, you’re just fans” and he’s right. Yes we can laugh at the idea of “fundementalist Christians” holding babies under the baptismal water until they talk but let’s be careful not to distance ourselves too far from the message behind it. If the rest of the world has a poor view of Christians and Christianity then there really is only one place to lay the blame: at the feet of the Church – which we keep on telling ourselves is the people and not the building.
Recently I had a conversation with a new Christian (for want of a better term). They expressed a concern that they felt they still weren’t getting it right (after 3 weeks!). After 35 years of being in the same boat all I could say was “join the club”. In the end though we must remember that the message we bring (and should live) is that all fall short of the standard Jesus set and that God loved the entire world so much that he gave his only Son to make up the difference. This does not give us an excuse to stop trying and to live in ways that the person we claim to follow would not have done.