Even though I’m pretty open about my faith - at work, on this blog, on my online dating profile(s) - I still find myself getting uncomfy when a new acquaintance finds out I’m a Christian. It’s not like I blatantly start talking about it, but because "being a Christian" is not my hobby and kind of the point of my life - it comes up. What can I say? People are always intrigued when I tell them that no, I can’t go to Happy Hour because I have Community Group or that my plans for the weekend yes, in fact, involve church. Every time I post something that is faith-based a part of my thinks, “What will [insert non-Christian friend] think about this? Will they think I’m crazy?”
For the most part, people are kind and polite, but I have an inkling of what they must have on their minds. That Christians are judgmental. And hypocritical. And have caused more problems than solved them. And boring. Mostly that Christians are REALLY boring. And live really uptight lives.
Which, I don’t totally blame them because I know a lot of Christians like that myself. And at times, I’ve been that person. I get it, I really do.
And generally speaking, the church hasn’t done a great job at welcoming people who don’t look, act and sound exactly like them (whoever “them” is anyways). Which makes me really sad. And if I’ve learned anything from living in NYC and being a part of a church community of wonderfully diverse people - it’s that the church should 10,000% be a place where people feel at home and at ease.
So here are some things I wish my non-Christian friends knew about Christianity:
Friend - Christianity is about Jesus. Having a relationship with Him. Too many people have made it about rules and power and political positioning. They make it about them vs. about Him. I’m grateful that God is much bigger than that.
Friend - you don’t have to be Republican OR a Democrat to be a Christian. Or unwelcoming to the homosexual community. Or holier-than-thou. I know that that has been the narrative in society for far too long, but hear me - that's man-made, not God-ordained. And to be frank, that's not a fair representation or generalization of a group of believers. I know plenty of people on the political spectrum who love the Lord with all their heart. Some of my best friends are homosexual. And if a self-proclaimed Christian thinks they are holier-than-thou, I’d question what they really believe in.
Friend - if most Christians (including myself) loved like Jesus did, you would find Jesus to be utterly infectious. You wouldn’t question if He was for you. You would want to know more about Him. This Jesus who heals the broken, who welcomes the socially unacceptable, who outpours rivers of grace and forgiveness. You’d want to know Him.
Friend - you don’t have to have it all figured out to be a Christian. Being a Jesus-follower doesn’t mean that you don’t doubt or wonder if you’re crazy for believing something that is other worldly. Want to read my journals? I doubt God a lot. I’ve found that He welcomes the questioning with open arms.
Friend - if you have guilt or shame for your past, you are not beyond hope. God loves messy people, so there is space for you at the table. Meaning that there is space for ALL of us at His table. I’m humbled and grateful that my ickiness doesn’t keep me in the cold, away from His presence.
Friend - if you’re wondering what you’re here on earth to do. He has an answer for that. If you’re wondering what the meaning of life is. He has an answer for that. If you’re wondering why there is suffering and joy and hard things and good things. He has an answer for that as well. If you’re looking for freedom. He offers that. If you’re looking for abounding joy. He gives that. If you’re looking for peace and contentment. He pours that and then some. I know, because I’ve experienced it first-hand.
When I think of Jesus and how I’ve come to know my faith, these are the words that come to mind:
Love. Unconditional Love.
Friend - perhaps this Christianity thing is a much better narrative than what you’ve always thought? What if this Jesus person actually showcased the words above? What if the Gospel actually was the way to a fulfilled, abundant and generous life? Wouldn’t you want to know for sure? Wouldn’t you want to see for yourself what Christianity is all about - not what your parents, your friends or even me say about it? Wouldn’t you want to do the digging yourself, for your own peace of mind?
My hope is that you see there may be a different side to the narrative. Now might be a good time to explore this whole “faith thing”. (I mean, given the current state of our country, I think we could all use a little bit of hope?) Plus, you know you're not getting any younger.
Just some thoughts I’ve been having. It might be worth a chat, friend. You know, I'm always down for some Jesus talk and a glass of vino. Consider this your rolling, open invitation.