Wednesday, September 16, 2009
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.
Sunday, September 13, 2009
That's why I wanted to give a little plug to a few people I know. My wife and I met Michelle Weston at Dragon*Con, and were excited to talk to her. She is a published author that wants to write more Christian-themed fantasy fiction in the vein of Lewis. She gave us one of her books, which I am very much looking forward to reading. You can find her at www.elysianchronicles.com or www.mbweston.com. She was very supportive of what we were doing through Fans For Christ at the con, and I admire her desire to do genre work.
There is a newer publisher that has decided to concentrate on Christian speculative fiction, and is growing its library of books. Marcher Lord Press is trying to show writers and fans that you can be a Christian, write Christian themes, and still have genre settings. I love what they do and think they have some great books (which I'll review at another time).
I know that I don't have a wide readership on this blog, but maybe I can influence some of you to support other Christians and check out some of these books. We can follow Christ and still read fun stories that aren't set in our modern world.
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
One of he biggest things I learned at the con was that God is faithful and will provide. In the weeks leading up to the con my family ran into some pretty frustrating and depressing problems with cars and finances. We worried that we weren't going to be able to pay for things. Even though we knew that Satan was trying to keep us away, and this was really a spiritual battle, it was still pretty hard. It shouldn't have been. We have been in tough situations before, and God has never let us down.
We humans are pretty bad worriers. We fret and wring our hands and moan about not knowing how we'll get through. God must be sadly shaking his head at any Christians doing this. After our service on Sunday, I was talking to my wife about it and was amazed at God's grace and providence, berating myself for ever being concerned. God showed us in some incredible ways that he wanted us at the con and would take care of us. We shouldn't be surprised, as this is exactly what He promised! The same is true in the rest of our lives. It's pretty scary some times, but if we trust in and rely on God fully, he will take care of us.
"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?
"And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.