November 23, 2006

“You have the most adorable accent!”

“Um, thanks!” [I have usually only said about 2 words to a person by the time the above statement is made. I don’t know how they can tell that quickly I am a Southerner. Cursed drawl.]

“Where are you from? Obviously not Canada.”

“Um, Nashville. Tennessee.”

”Why on earth are you in Vancouver?”

“Actually, I work with a church in the area.”

“So you are a Christian, eh?” [awkward turtle usually makes his appearance right about now.]

“Eh.” [Okay so I don’t usually respond with this, but maybe one day I will sound Canadian enough to try.]

A myriad of responses ensue at this point… but many with a common theme. From someone describing their extreme hatred for the church and the legalism and separatism it has produced, to a person telling me that her religious background led her to consider herself a bad person for almost 20 years of her life, to a Muslim being told daily by teachers and students at a missionary school she attended that she was going to hell when she died. Many people have deep wounds from their encounters with Christianity.

I find myself making apologies on behalf of Christians who have used harsh words or insensitive evangelism techniques in attempts to “win” people to Jesus. I find myself increasingly saddened at how we as believers try to share our beliefs with people who don’t really understand this whole “getting saved” concept. And we increase their confusion about this “us vs. them” mentality when our lives look no different than theirs, except for being able to say we have been “saved.” This has given me great determination to help paint a different picture of Christianity for people who want nothing to do with Jesus, much less the people who say they follow Him… to help them come to some level of understand that following Jesus is more than just being saved from a Godless future, but about living in the here and now as a part of God’s community.

I have realized that the language we use confuses and separates us from people who don’t get the Christian sub-culture, who have yet to encounter the Spirit and even sense they need anything more than their own autonomy.

People have found a variety of ways to live their lives and I am realizing that the best way to explain my faith is to tell them why I believe that Jesus offers the best way to live. It doesn’t always make sense, following Jesus. But when He says the most important things in life are to love God and love people, I think there is great simplicity and difficulty in this and I want to spend my life figuring out how to do this, as messy and unconventional as it may be at times. Believing this… believing that the Gospel is more than just one verse or propositional statement, changes how I share my faith with people. It means I chose my words more carefully and that at some points I don’t even speak but offer an ear to listen. It may mean I don’t use an evangecube or 4 spiritual laws tract. It may mean that I don’t share Romans Road. [gasp]

People are all at different places when it comes to their spiritual journeys and we, as those who are attempting to bring healing and restoration into the world, must engage with those who have not embraced this Jesus-life with words and actions of reconciliation rather than thoughtless bullets that not only make fresh wounds but deepen those that are already gaping. And as I recall, Jesus saved his most harsh words for the religious leaders of his day. We could learn a thing or two from that, eh?


One Response to “saved!”

  1. kristin Says:

    wise insights, miss lacey from vancouver, british columbia, canada.

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