May 15, 2006


I got one of those forwarded mass emails today that talks about some horrible decision being made by some part of the US Government and how I should sign my name on the petition against passing the bill and forward it to ... blah blah blah. This particular one was about some lady (no name given) that passed a bill to take "public prayer" out of schools and now she's passing a bill (with a signed petition of some rediculously big number) to ban the word "God" from the airwaves.

I'm not particularly sure why it was sent to me, other than the fact that I call myself a Christian, or at least, a Jesus-follower. But the email had that sense of urgency to it, like the world was ending because of it. Like they were surprised or something.

Personally, I've got no problem with passing this bill. While I'm amused that somebody thinks that they can pass a bill that's so obviously in conflict with our bill of rights, I'm also not particularly surprised by it either. We're told to expect persecution, not to worry about it or be surprised when non-believers strike out against us.

And like I said, I think I support this one. Lots of advantages to it, actually. First, it's a wake-up call to the Christians who think that somebody else is going to do evangelism/mission for them - it's your job to influence the people you know, not Billy Graham's. Second, it gets a lot of "Christian" voices off of the airwaves that really piss me off - Pat Robertson and Benny Hinn, to name a couple. Maybe even Rush Limbaugh, if we're lucky.

Third, if the word "God" is banned from the airwaves (and like I said, you can't do this, it's just not possible), but if it were, then guess what? Nobody could take God's title in vain on the airwaves! You'd think that this alone would convince the Christian Right to go for it, but I guess they're not really thinking of the legalistic implications (for once).

I think the most compelling reason to pass that bill, though, is the second one: getting the bad evangelists off of the air, getting rid of so-called "Christian" radio. I have a lot of reasons for this, and if you're in Christian radio and are reading this, I appologize in advance for offending you.

1) The word "Christian" is a noun, not an adjective. A "Christian" CD did not make a personal decision to follow Jesus ... you know, "my CD was baptized the other day, along with my saxophone and comforter. Half my things are Christian now!" A Christian is a follower of Christ, of Jesus, of "the Way" [John 14:5-6, Acts 19:23]; a Christian is a person.

Pat Robertson and Benny Hinn and their kind are often the worst examples of Christians. Though there are some obvious exceptions (like Billy Graham) who genuinely care about the people they're attempting to reach, the majority of (BOCTAOE) televangelists promote self-centered Christendom, "your best life now!" and "you can be healed tonight!" and the like, something I don't recall Jesus ever mentioning. And they're annoying.

3) Mission/evangelism or whatever you want to call it is best done one-on-one, or maybe, maybe in small groups (not the kind that most churches call "small groups," just non-large groups of people gathering together). Most people these days aren't much into televangelists, who, in reality, just "preach to the choir." In our postmodern/post-Christian/post-Christendom world, nobody cares what you think unless several criteria are met: a) you practice what you preach (personal integrity/authenticity), b)what you preach is relevant to a person's life (personal relevance), and c) the message is spoken in a way that person will understand (cultural relevance/individual language).
The best way to be a missionary is to be an example: helping the poor, being generous, not being judgemental, being encouraging, listening to others, and generally, living like Jesus did - it's basically an introduction to Jesus. Then maybe you'll get some credibility, and then maybe if the time is right, you can tell them about Jesus.
4) Televangelists ask for money all the time. Enough said.
5) We'd stop getting mass emails about it (though perhaps we'd start getting mass emails appealing the senate or the president or somebody else in power to pass a bill cancelling out the one that said we can't say "God" on the airwaves).
6) Christianity - as a religion or as a faith or however you define it - works best when it's being persecuted. When people realize that it involves sacrifice because they can SEE people who've had to pay a price, we stop seeing lukewarm converts.
If I'm wrong, then please, by all means leave me comments about it. If I'm right, by all means, leave me comments about it. I'd especially like to hear from those of you that may not consider yourselves "Christians;" what do you think of Christians?

1 comment:

Sam Steiner said...

"I call myself a Christian, or at least, a Jesus-follower"

I liked that one - just something I was thinking about the other day. I would rather go by "Jesus-follower" than be called a Christian - because of the sub optimal associations people have with the word 'Christian'.