The other day, I made a phallic joke on my Facebook page. It was generally well received. However, a few people didn’t like it. One person even went so far as to offer the following comment:
“Wow. Is this all you guys could come up with to talk about? It’s honestly no wonder people aren’t drawn to Christ when this is the type of crap you choose to focus on. It’s insulting and completely anti-Christ.”
Now, I will admit that focusing on jokes that are phallic in nature is probably not the best way to spend all your time. Which is why most of my time is spent thinking about other topics.
That said, what I found particularly interesting about this comment is that it alleges that people aren’t “coming to Jesus” because Christians, by and large, are too crass. Or that because we are irreverent with our humor, that that somehow deters people from converting to Christianity. Frankly, that has not been my experience. Not in the slightest! Per my experience, the reasons are much, much different. Here are just five that I’ve come across.
We Are Too Hypocritical
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Before judging others and their sin, we Christians need to, first and foremost, clean off our own porch. You know, that whole plank and speck stuff Jesus talked about? Instead, though, we tend to just sit and clamor about “gay marriage,” for example, and then get divorced at a rate no different than the secular world. And how many times have we heard news stories about vehemently anti-gay preachers getting caught up in some overtly homosexual acts? Just Google it if you aren’t sure. But beware, you’ll likely be stuck at your computer for a while.
Over and over, we sit atop our throne of piety and judge the world and its actions, never once considering how disgusting our behavior can be. It’s pretty shocking, really, and it is one of the major reasons people are done with Christianity. At least, that is what I’ve heard, over and over, from those who have either walked away from the faith or stayed away entirely.
We Reject Science
This reason is a big one for people. In fact, because so many of us opt to interpret Genesis 1 as a literal, historical account of the creation of the cosmos, we’ve become a laughing stock. I mean, given the fact that the sun—you know, that big ball in the sky that is needed in order to determine what a day is—isn’t created until the fourth day, it is pretty silly to believe that each “day” in Genesis corresponds to an actual 24-hour period. Amiright?
But no, we just keep on keeping on, wasting our time arguing for things the Bible is simply not arguing for; as if it makes more sense to believe the writer of Genesis had science, and not the competing creation myths, in mind when he wrote down the Hebrew version of the story. Puh-lease!
We’re Obsessed with Hell
Right now, someone thinks you are going to hell. Yes you, the person reading this right now, are doomed to hell according to at least one person out there. So am I. So is that guy. So is that gal. Within the Christian faith, we even take it a step further and tell entire groups they are bound for God’s version of Auschwitz. Heck, we even tell other Christian groups they are going to join them in the barbecue.This is a major turn off for people. If you don’t believe me, just ask them. I’m guessing at least half of the non-believers you come across will tell you that hell is one major roadblock for them. And more than that, our obsession with consigning so many of our human family to the eternal flames is, well, beyond horrifying. Indeed, far too often we come across as sadistic assholes.
We Are Patriarchal
While many in the secular world advocate for equal rights for men and women, the Church has consistently pushed against such a thing. Oh, we wouldn’t admit it. No! But it’s true nonetheless. Just head over to your local Reformed or Southern Baptist or Catholic or Christian & Missionary Alliance or—well, you get the point, most every church—and see how many women serve as elders, or preach from the pulpit, or are on the board, or in any other major leadership role. I’m guessing you’d be hard pressed to find any. Instead, they’ll probably be consigned to playing back-up keyboards or serving crackers and grape juice every fourth Sunday. Not to say that those roles aren’t just as important as any other, but we need women in leadership, too.
This is a sad state of affairs. Women can and should be CEOs, politicians, doctors, lawyers, and whatever else they want to be, but not pastors. Not preachers. Not elders. Not board members. It’s time we change that, lest we continue to turn people away from the faith.
We Have a Messed-Up View of the Cross
As Brad Jersak points out in his book A More Christlike God, the common Western view of atonement is really good at one thing: creating atheists. Why? Because they at least recognize how grotesque it is to suggest that a loving father would ever pour out his anger and wrath onto a broken child because other people messed up. In the real world, this would never fly. Imagine, for a moment, beating the crap out of one of your kids so that you don’t have to do it to all of them, and then calling yourself loving and just. You can’t, can you? Then why do we think God behaves like this?
So, in my estimations, if we change our view of the cross, we may prevent people from walking away. And more than that, if we can recognize all the reasons people are not drawn to Christ, we’ll have a better chance at influencing the world for the better, at drawing them to Christ so to speak. Isn’t that what we claim to want? That people will be drawn to Christ, not repelled because of the actions of those who follow him? That’s my hope, anyway.
Until next time.