"A friend and I prepared a video clip once for a worship service. Our goal was to capture people's responses to the word Christian, so we took a video camera and hit the streets, from the trendy arts districts to the suburbs. We asked people to say the first word that came to mind in response to each word we said: "snow", "eagles" (it's Philly), "teenagers", and finally "Christian". When people heard the word Christian, they stopped in their tracks. I will never forget their responses: "fake", "hypocrites", "church", "boring". One guy even said, "used-to-be-one" (sort of one word). I will also never forget what they didn't say. Not one of the people we asked that day said "love". No one said "grace". No one said "community".
~Shane Claiborne, Irresistible Revolution, p. 269-270
"The greatest cause of atheism is Christians who acknowledge Jesus with their lips, then walk out the door and deny him with their lifestyle. That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable."
~ Brennan Manning
If we were to consider the image Christianity commonly strikes up within the average modern citizen that doesn't attend church, and even among some of those sadly that do, the images and impressions would be strikingly sad and disheartening for those of us believers that feel the Spirit alive and well within our souls. Who know what it is to have an active relationship with Christ and have felt hope, strength, encouragement and life from that relationship.
Individual churches as well as Christian groups that have decided to use the pulpit as a political platform, oftentimes targeting certain groups within our country in limiting their rights and voices, have turned many off from our faith. Oftentimes these groups receive much more press than the groups and churches in this country and abroad who are doing good things in the name of Christ. Who are actively living out the gospel everyday and showing love and compassion towards others...lifting up those that are in despair, providing spiritual and material blessings to those who are in desperate need of them.
Through our continual display of love and compassion towards humanity and stewardship to our environment we can help show the world that, though there are Christians that do live up to the stereotypes, there are many of us that do not. To be honest...when reflecting on the informal study done by Claiborne, Christianity can be boring if it is gone about without the Spirit of God. Perhaps some of the churches are dead spiritually and need a resurrection of sorts. In fact, I would say, Christianity as a whole, needs to rise from the ashes and ,with the gospel as its wings, soar back into the hearts of the people. This can only be done through the Spirit and God's will. May it be God's will that His Kingdom will be seen on earth through the works and prayers of His people.
It's my view that we should never change the gospel to win people over into accepting us more or opening up more to God's truth. For if we changed the gospel we wouldn't be presenting people with the truth at all. Just a cheap version of something that has the power to transform. No, we want to be transformed and watch in joy as others are transformed in the love and light of Jesus. For this to happen, the gospel shouldn't be reinterpreted but lived out. Words are just symbols for concepts, actions...well they say it all. So let's live out our faith, let's believe the words of the gospel and give our all to Jesus and let the light of the Spirit shine through us into the darkness of a fallen world.