Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Why Do People Hate Evangelicals?

For those of you unfamiliar with the Internet Monk, you really must venture on over to his site.  He is a man of great insight, and keen creativity.

In this particular article, IM scopes out the climate of evangelical Christianity and beats out a masterful pummeling to those groups most non-believers nickname 'fundies'.  That is, the all-talk-but-no-consideration-because-I-refuse-to-think-through-my-assumptions kind of Christians that make up the bulk of the North American Christian population.

His article is not mean-spirited, or rude.  In fact, it is quite polite, concerned, and gentle.  But for anybody who isn't inclined to reflect on their faith beyond simple platitudes, this article will come as a well-needed wake up call.  I think, in this article, IM has quite beautifully captured the poignancy of Serge LeClerk's philosophy of ministry to "comfort the inflicted, and inflict the comfortable."

So, as my old professor, Dr. John R. Stephenson used to say in his owl-toned English accent, "read, learn, and inwardly digest."

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

My first reaction to this article was, “Wow, I have been the worst stereotype of what I now fear.” (Quite an eye-opener.)
I have come from a place of judgement to a place of disallusionment, then onward to a place of utter humility and thankfulness.
Have I arrived? Hardly.
But I do believe we’ve given ourselves a bad rap: “I have seen the enemy and it is us.”
Occasionally I find myself repeating what I believe what bears repeating — and that is this: “By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
Do I believe it?
Yes I do, unreservedly.
Do I live it? It is what I try to do each day.
But, sometimes I feel like I come up against a wall in relating to evangelical Christians (of which I am one). At times, I am amazed at the anger-bordering-on-contempt that we display toward one another.
At times I am dumbfounded by the realization that evangelical Christians don’t really seem to believe in transformation — we jump up and down when someone comes to know the Lord, but somehow grace seems to costly to give freely to one another because … because … perhaps we don’t really believe in transformation.
What do I believe now?
I believe we stand, sit, walk only by grace.
I have also learned to eschew, with effort at times, what I believe others think about me.
If we live what we believe, then we live for One and hopefully, prayerfully care for all.
Long-comment-short, I think we are as hard or harder on each other than those who don’t share our faith. I think sometimes they are probably fueled by what they don’t see — love.
My thoughts …
Still I am encouraged when I look at the divine example of love. He is my hope.
Jo-Anne

Christopher said...

Jo-Anne,

Thank you so much for your tender confession. I have to say that was quite surprised to find such a warm-hearted reflection on this site concerning an article written by someone else on another site.

What I think traps the evangelical community into such nonsensical, even fantastical modes of living as a Christian in this world is the 'corporate' environment the church has become. If a corporation does not market itself through catchy sayings, its products will not sell. Thus the evangelical church has sold itself to a marketing scheme wherein certain catchy phrases are lobbed about like dud grenades: they don't explode with meaning, but fall with a dull thud to the floor. And the 'product' we're selling is Jesus, but He's been cheapened to trite acronyms like WWJD and the like. Is it any wonder that the rest of the world looks on and scoffs as the followers of God, in all their shiny happiness, water the Saviour down to campfire jingles, kitsch, and a vague, abstract sentimentalism? Is it any wonder that more and more people have snubbed their nose at what they perceive as God -- because that's what we've witnessed -- and not who God actually is?

The situation is not hopeless; not by any stretch of the imagination. However, I think a compassionate revolution needs to happen within Christendom. And the first markers of that are already cascading into view. Christian churches in some places of the world have taken note of the immensely popular literature of the New Atheists, and have re-examined the church-wide lack of humanness, and have started to turn that around.

I'm glad our church already figured that out a long time ago. It's an honour to be part of our congregation. Now if we could just get there on a more regular basis... ;)

Anonymous said...

Chris,
I probably speak like Job, for the most part, not knowing what it really is that I speak.
I speak mostly from the heart and it might come out sounding a little drivelish at times ... but I think that's a chance I can take here.
Reading your thoughts made me wonder if we don't somehow look, to some, like walking cliches.
A living, breathing relationship should never be there. I think we lose sight of that.
At times I think we lose sight of what isn't right in front of our noses ... for what reason, I'm not sure.
There is this cramped part of me that never seems to get uncramped -- and not because we don't have a wonderful, gracious church full of believers.
It's because there is this part of me that believes there is a depth that we will never know and perhaps can never know while we walk this Earth.
Glad you and Sarah are passionate about talking about God, about every aspect of God.
I think we were created for adventure, created to explore and created for relationship.
Ultimately it is wonderful to know that no matter how little words may actually mean ... there is one thing that will outlast it all. That is a relationship with a Lord who loves everything about us, even when he can't stand how we act at times.
Which brings me to this ...
I heard this once and it turned WWJD on its head for me. I much prefer this.
WWJD (What wouldn't Jesus Do?).
Peace,
Jo-Anne