Versus

A month or so ago I wrote a post about infighting and arguing with non-christians. The point of which was, you know, don’t.

There is a big reason why we do feel the urge to defend our faith, though. In fact, I would say if you don’t ever feel the need to defend something that supposedly has drastically changed your life and your worldview, you probably do not really believe what you claim.

For example, I truly believe that Hot Rod starring Andy Samburg is the most hilarious movie ever. In my opinion, it cannot be topped. For fans of the movie, I need you to know that I tried to ultimate punch somebody last night.

Like the main character, I donned a mustache for a few days. And Rod was right, I did feel way manlier.

If some ignorant dummy were to tell me that Hot Rod is, in fact, not funny at all, I would engage in an extremely long debate. I will first break down most of the funnier moments, and eventually land on attacking the nay-sayer’s personality. This person clearly does not have a sense of humor. And I would watch it again, for what would be my 19th time.

Now, that was just a movie. Surely you see where I’m going with this, and I realize my example is largely framed by my personality, so let me elaborate just a little more. Survivors of cancer, are you going to let people you love not get checked? You who have lost people in car accidents due to something preventable like drunk driving or not wearing a seatbelt- are you going to remain silent when you witness someone getting behind the wheel without any precautions?

If you, who know the consequences of remaining stationary directly in the path of a speeding train, see anyone sitting in the tracks as the train comes barreling down, are you not going to try to get that person away from the danger at any cost?

There is a reason I feel the need to defend my faith, to argue with other Christians who are screwing things up: I absolutely believe the salvation of people I love is at stake.

But most people don’t want to believe they could have cancer. Most can’t imagine that the deadly car accident would happen to them.

And when you’ve got a crowd of folks angrily shouting at you to get off the tracks, tracks that you may not even think exist, you certainly aren’t going to receive that news well. If it were me standing there, in the tracks I don’t see, I would very quickly become enraged with the group barking orders at me about how to use my life. I would probably even dare them a little by marching directly into the danger only they apparently see. If I had been living peacefully, being a good person, drinking green tea all day, it would be even more upsetting that they point out the devil in me.

So, Christians, listen: I know how urgent salvation is. I do. But barking at other people doesn’t work. We have to lay our lives down and love on them as much as possible. We have to step into the danger and live there with them until they believe us and are willing to look for a way to step off the tracks.

Non-Christians, atheists, those of you burned by faith, listen: I am sorry. Yes, what we have  done can be downright offensive. Some of the “Christian” actions you’ve endured are largely misdirected and inappropriate. I know. And I’m sorry.

But some mean well. We truly want to save you. We love you. I love you. And I absolutely believe God loves you.

I hereby pledge to live in danger, to entangle my life with those who entirely do not match my belief system. I will avoid making my life safer, cleaner, more protected by the pastel walls of a white-Jesus church. I prefer so much to live as long as I can on the tracks with those who need to know where they are.

Christians- join me? We cannot just preach at them anymore.

Non-believers- Feel free to see this as an argument, as a disagreement or fight. It is my job not to.

Join the conversation- post your reaction below!


12 comments

  1. Dear Chad,

    I feel that my life has been endangered by 2 Christians – George W Bush and Tony Blair. In July I had some conversations in a local market place with proselytising Muslims, They told me, in a very conversational tone, that of course I am a legitimate target for suicide bombers. When I asked why, they replied that Tony Blair has killed their Muslim brothers. When I said that I had not voted for Tony Blair, they said that he had been elected by the British, and so we were all responsible for his actions. I am sure that if they had been in the USA they would have substituted George Bush for Tony Blair.

    Knowing that both Bush and Blair claim to have prayed for heavenly guidance before intervening in the affairs of Islamic countries, how should I have reacted to the young men trying to convert me to Islam? How would you have reacted.

    • Hi Natalie.

      That’s a fair question. I want to start by saying I don’t want to raise an accusatory finger toward anyone, really. If I did so, I’d be contributing to the issue.

      A lot of things come to my mind- mostly endless looping scenarios.

      Most simply and most importantly, I would love on them, serve them, and, if appropriate, share what I think with them.

      I don’t personally know GWB or Tony Blair, so I can’t really say anything about how they prayerfully considered anything. I know it’s not a responsibility that I covet in any way.

  2. For the record, and I am not being facetious here, Hotrod was really not that funny.

    On a more serious note: sometimes you have to calmly explain to the person about the dangers of standing on train tracks, give them a book about trains, and tell them to call you when you have questions. Visit the person each day just to chill, and the whole train thing will probably come up when it wants to.

  3. I find that too often, the “Believe” conversation veers to the “You’re wrong, I’m right….no, I’m right, You’re wrong” track and crashes from there. If you’re going to have the conversation, It is ALL important to speak about the love of Christ, What he did, Why he did it. Not to condemn the world, but to save it from its own destruction. And it is important to remember, Jesus is not just a story. He works in our lives in ways that we can see.
    The most powerful witness is definitely when a person lets you into their life, is vulnerable with you, and you invite God into the moment. Treat the conversation like a prayer and look for what he’s wanting to tell that person through you. Expect God to speak, because HE WILL! If you should be so lucky as to be invited to pray for someone, invite God into that time and space. Invite him to speak His words over that person. Amazing things will happen. In the end, the timing of that person realizing a close relationship with God is up to the individual, and Him.
    In short, I’d say: Daily open yourself to God. Offer yourself to be used by him. Expect the opportunities to share his heart for people. Listen and watch for him when those opprtunities arise. And don’t be too busy to pause your day when those moments come. Jesus didn’t just go preaching willy-nilly. He only did what he saw the Father doing.

  4. Interesting point of view. I met a lady on November 15th at my Cancer Support Group (I had stage one ovarian cancer, and know my mortality). She was not a Christian, but she was invited to our group by a friend who has stage four pancreatic cancer. The non-Christian visitor also had stage four pancreatic cancer and declared she just wanted to make it to her 60th birthday, which is on November 26.

    I shared the death, burial and resurrection of Christ with the group, saying we should not be ashamed to share the gospel because when one hears and believes it and is baptized, is saved. This statement made the visitor uncomfortable and she stood up as if to leave, but then quickly sat down again.

    The other lady who had invited her said this…”Some people are so heavenly minded, they are of no earthly good”. (I believe this statement of an effort to silence those whose hearts are set fast to Christ).

    Anyway, the lady who wanted to live to be 60 passed away on November 19, one week before her 60 birthday rejecting the Lord.

    The other woman with stage four pancreatic cancer told me earlier that the woman had other Christian friends. Did these other friends tell her fearlessly about Jesus and the salvation He provides through His blood? Or were they too afraid to speak up for fear of being called, “Too Heavenly minded?”
    Thanks for sharing. Connie
    http://7thandvine.wordpress.com/

    • Thanks for sharing Connie.

      By no means am I saying to be silent. Rather, know your audience.

      I’m glad you shared that with someone who definitely needed it. I’m sad she didn’t meet Jesus or make it to her birthday.

  5. Meh, I’m not so bitter anymore.

    And to be clear- it was never just the people that bothered me, but also the doctrine itself. I dismissed it because of it, not because of the people who misused it. ….it. ( just had to say “it” again )

    Stupid jerky behavior bothers me no matter which deity individuals chose to or not to worship. I feel the same way about people who are agressively fanatic about a sports team. All the teams are basically the same. They play the same sport and have the same goals. The only differences are superficial. Ie, colors of uniform and geographical location. I enjoy watching sports, but I am not a fan of any particular team.

    Strangely enough, i feel the same way about extreme patriotism. It just doesn’t make much sense to me to root for teams that are identified souly on imaginary and arbitrary borders. Instead, I’ll root for good people everywhere.


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