I don’t know about anyone else, but it seems lately that whenever the word Christian comes up in current events, I cringe and try to distance myself from what is about to happen. I think it all started after 9/11 and Jerry Falwell’s comment about God’s judgment on the US for all of its sin. It seems every time that we have some catastrophe happen, especially in the US, some outspoken Christian who has traded in his or her common sense for a television spot, makes the claim that God is sending his wrath upon an unholy America. We saw this with 9/11, as well as with the 2 recent hurricanes. I am not the first to point out, that if this is God throwing darts of judgment on our sin, then He has some poor aim by missing the French Quarter.
You may think that I am being sacrilegious, but the more I study God, Jesus, and the Bible, the more I am ashamed to be known as a Christian. Why is that? Well because most of the Christians getting airtime must not be reading the same Bible that I am. It seems that the only Christians that are getting airtime are the overzealous conservatives. Now I am a person who believes that everyone is entitled to his or her on beliefs, but when someone that is not Christian finds out that I am a Christian, It is automatically assumed that I am a judgmental, outspoken, intolerant, closed-minded person incapable of thinking for myself.
I am afraid that I am more right than wrong when I say that to those outside the Church, this is what they believe the Church to be. No longer is it a place, to seek out a God who is glorious, loving, and forgiving. No longer is it a place of refuge and strength, but rather a place more akin to a courthouse where all who enter (save the guy in the pulpit) is waiting their turn at the defendant’s table.
I am also afraid that many people outside the Church think that they cannot be a part of the Church because their reasoning does not coincide with the proclamations seen on TV. For instance, a person who thinks that women should have a right to choose in the abortion issue, whether they have had an abortion or not, feels like they would have no place in the Church, and would be condemned before they even step into the vestibule. Maybe when we come up with those catchy slogans for the signs in front of our churches, we should say "NOT as seen on TV".
Advertising and business will tell you that if you want to make an impact on your target audience, then you have to pay attention to your Image. What image are we portraying as a local church? If we are not part of the problem, then what are we doing to fix the incorrect image that others have of us. The world unfortunately is not black and white. The Bible (maybe fortunately) is not black and white. Christ, (Thank God!) is NOT black and white. So why should we be? The more I read the Bible, and the more I look towards my savior, the more everything blends and fades to gray! To me this isn’t a bad thing, because it causes me to rely more on the Holy Spirit and less on myself when making decisions. So where do you fall. If we aren’t striving for a better solution, and if we are sitting back doing nothing, then we are just as much a part of the problem as those who are blemishing the image of Christ.