Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Are You Approachable?

This year at Dragon*Con one of our Fans For Christ members received a compliment from someone at the fan table registration area, which was right next to our table for the weekend. She said that we were most approachable and easy to talk to Christians she had ever been around. At first I thought "Great! That's what we're trying to do! We want to show non-Christians that we're really no different than them and want them to be able to talk to us." But the more I thought about it, the more I felt it was a strong, bad, but well-deserved statement on modern Christianity.

Many people see conservative Christians as prudish, judgmental, elitist, and isolationist. As much as I hate to admit it, this does hold true in many cases. My father's next-door neighbor is a Baptist minister and wife, and they are poorly regarded by the entire neighborhood. They have created so many problems by their negative attitudes and picky behaviors towards other people. This has made my father rather cynical about Christianity. After all, this minister is acting as a representative of Christ to other people, and he's not being a good ambassador.

A friend of ours was excited about being a part of a newly created church. They are fans and geeks, go to cons, and run a comic and gaming store. They thought that their pastor was accepting of them, their hobbies, and their business, and they were looking forward to being able to invite their friends to a church that would accept these eccentricities. Then their pastor told them that they had to be careful about these things because it might reflect poorly on the church. The pastor was worried about what people would think about appearances, not as much about what was in their hearts.

Is this the image that non-Christians see? Unfortunately, yes. This is more common that I would like to admit, but I have to be truthful. And this is totally against what Jesus did! He was criticized by the religious leaders of his time because He hung around sinners, beggars, prostitutes, and others that were considered pariahs by "polite society". Did Jesus worry about that? No. He openly defied the temple leaders and others by going where people were in need. And he made himself approachable and easy to talk to. Shouldn't we be like Jesus?

We are supposed to be showing people God's love for them. We are supposed to reach out to those that nobody else wants. How can we do this if we hold ourselves off and are constantly condemning or insulting people? We can't. If we want to truly fulfill the Great Commission, we need to make ourselves real and approachable. We need to make people comfortable around us. Look at my Ninjate points 6-8 on the side bar. Become the kind of Christian that people want to be around and you'll have a much better chance of leading them into the arms of God.

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