10/25/13 Dennis about 30
As Christians we are often accused of being “preachy” when we attempt to share our greatest treasure – a right relationship with God through a faith relationship with Jesus. Some of us take this as a compliment – after all we are called to “preach’ the gospel to all nations. Yet, increasingly, the word is taking on negative connotations. It means to deliver a moral or religious sermon, and one dictionary even defines it as “To give religious or moral instruction, especially in a tedious manner.” But does it have to be tedious? Does it have to portray Christians negatively, in a way that most believers would rather not be associated? Preaching the Gospel will never be “cool” as the world defines it, nor should we expect it to be. But it can and should be done in a way that puts the focus on the message of the gospel rather than the negative way we communicate it. Part of this means a willingness to listen to other’s points of view, to engage in dialogue, to be willing to put ourselves in the others shoes for a while. Every person has a different story, different experiences, and a unique set of beliefs. Each are at a different place in their journey toward or away from God, and we can better help them make a positive step in the right direction if we understand what that next step needs to be. I thought about this after talking with Dennis, an atheist philosophy professor whom I reached out to at the coffee shop. He told me about his contentious philosophy debates with his students, some of whom are Christians. He felt like he has “heard it all before” when it comes to religion and philosophy, except I could tell he was somewhat biblically illiterate and didn’t really understand the basics of Christianity – what it means to be saved by grace through faith in Jesus – so we reasoned through the Gospel. I wasn’t just sharing the truths of our faith but the reasons behind these truths. I was “reasoning”, not “preaching”, and it was in no way tedious. I believe this is what Paul did in Acts 17 and 18 where it mentions several times that he “reasoned” with both Jews and Gentiles. Ours is a reasonable faith, and we can share it in a reasonable way!