(Click here for a video of John reading this Catch.)
Yesterday we looked at Jesus plus. We realized that being a Christian today comes with a long list of assumptions — assumptions that, for the most part, are not true but that have nevertheless become tightly associated with Christianity, especially in the minds of non-Christians.
It’s getting harder and harder to represent Christ in the marketplace without first dealing with what most people think a Christian is. Thirty years of Christians trying to force a change in this culture through social media and political involvement has taken a heavy toll. I could cite a long list of what most unbelievers think you are for and against the minute they find out you are a Christian, but you could create that same list, and naming all those things is only going to raise the temperature on everybody’s blood. That list is beside the point. The point is that as Christians we have been branded by our culture. A “Christian” is more of a cultural brand now than it is what it should be — someone who has a relationship with Christ.
How do we deal with this? Well, we must deal with it the only way we can, on an individual level. Here at the Catch with the internet platform we have, we can make a small dent, but the real change will happen through individual relationships with non-Christians. And for these we need to focus on two things: Jesus and love. And I would suggest love first. Then when someone asks why you are being so kind, that is your opening to bring up Jesus. But it’s better coming later, because then talking about Jesus has some credibility in front of it — some substance. Not just a brand.
Love, compassion, kindness, generosity, selfless service — these are the things we want to be known for, not a brand. The Christian brand has been traded too many times for lesser things, and the gospel has been compromised too often to now be seen as anything that is welcoming to a sinner.
We represent the gospel of welcome — grace turned outward — to everyone, everywhere, and that’s not a brand; it’s a living testimony to the one who lives in us.