I’m out of town this whole week, so I’ve scheduled a few posts. If this is your first time here when I’m on vacation I polish off the posts stalled in draft-land and offer them as b-sides. I will likely not be able to reply to comments til the end of the month.
Maybe it’s because I hang around blogs that highlight Christian issues and debates, but I’m acutely aware of Christian in-fighting. I do my best to not contribute, but I do stand on the sidelines and watch ’em go at it.
When it comes to intellectual stuff it seems to be the norm to fight dirty – taking it personal/going for low blows, assuming one error equals a hundred more, condescending statements and putting down the other as if they are children, and discrediting other legitimate work simply be association.
I wouldn’t expect the progressives and the conservatives to be the best of buddies – I understand that when they meet they can only see the glaring differences. But even if we are in a church we like with people whom we are similar to there is often so much gossip and power-play and judgment. People get their feelings hurt and leave in a black cloud and friendships are broken. With people we like! With people we’re similar to!
And to the world we are the party-killers. We condemn all the fun, we tell people they are going to hell, we yell about being persecuted and disrespected, and we spew judgement and highlight every single shortcoming and flaw*.
Wait a second – we are not loving to those around us and we are not loving to those outside of us… Doesn’t that seem a big striking? I’m not all about image control but that’s not the best reputation to have. I don’t think hiring a top notch PR team to take over for a while is what’s needed, but at the same time we may want to worry about this just a little bit. Just in the last 50 years we’ve become the annoying person you go out of our way to avoid.
What is the image of Christians to those around you? I’m curious to know, and I hope it’s not like what I’ve described. Should Christians even care what their image is to the greater world? What can be done to curb some of the negative fog hanging over it?
*This is of course not the whole story, neither is the section about Christian in-fighting, but for some reason this stuff has a way of sticking with you and it’s tough to shake these images.