Saturday, October 6, 2007

Tagged.....and Why I Can't Answer This Yet

Emerging Grace tagged me for a meme on why people (non Christians) do not like Christians. The complete instructions are to: List four things about Christians: three negative perceptions that people have and one thing that Christians should be known for.

Last night I made my list. But you know what. As I got ready to post it this morning I realized that I don’t really know anyone who does not call themselves a Christian. I mean I could give you some names. I know people. But I don’t really know them.

I’ve explained before in this blog that in my former church I had set myself up as the one who discipled the ones who came into the church. My time and energies all went toward the new and developing Christians and fellowship with people mostly just like me. I mean, after the Sunday morning meeting and all the other meetings I attended there really wasn’t time for much else. I never belonged to an outside organization, club or group. Since I homeschooled my children (until just the past few years) I did not even have school type excuses to meet the world. I also run our own business, and while I talk on the phone, taking appointments and such, it also does not lend itself to meeting any of those “non Christian people.”

I am beginning to take some steps outside now though. I just had drinks and dinner with Best Friend and some of her co-workers last night. It was a blast. I don’t remember when I’ve had more fun. And then there is the lady who ownes the florist shop down the road who found out that I love to make cinnamon rolls and actually asked me if she could come to my house some day and have me teach her how to make them.

What I am trying to say here is:
I have no idea of what they think of us or why they don’t like us.

I have only heard others like me tell me what they think of us. I have never asked them. I don’t even know them enough to really ask them.

So I made a call. I called my daughter who is living with her boyfriend. (She is the one running so hard away from religion right now that she is going to run smack into God out there) She has said that her boyfriend hates Christians. So I asked her to ask him for me. When he answers, I will get back to you and update this post.

You see, I’m no longer interested in what I think to be true. I have found that what I thought to be true even just months ago were lies of my own and others' making. I want truth. I really want to know what they think.

So, I’m going to ask them. So……more later……

11 comments:

malegra said...

I'm very interested in the answers you receive. I found your post a stark (and welcome) contrast to one of the local hot new clubs that have been in our town for the past 1.5 years. Yesterday, they posted this survey, which in my opinion, reads like this: What are we doing oh-so-right, and how are all of THOSE non-Christian folks missing our point and getting us all wrong? Ugh, ugh, ugh. It made me sick. I like your question much better. I ask it myself.

Barb said...

malergra, yeah I got that feeling too. Not sure why, it was just a feeling. I did not stay longe enough to determine if it was really there or not. Let me know if you find anything of the people you ask.

Ché Vachon said...

I just wanted to say, Barb, that I admire your courage.
You are open to looking at yourself, and asking tough questions...and I think you are pretty brave.
Happy truth hunting..:)

grace said...

barb,
I look forward to part 2.

I have a blog in my blogreader from a gal who was raised as a missionary kid. She is pretty sensitive about Christianity at this point in her life and quick to challenge the hypocrisies that she sees. While I don't always agree with her, I have found it helpful to understand her point of view.

I think as believers, we must be careful not to too quickly dismiss the judgments and perceptions of the secular world.

Barb said...

Che,
I'm just tired of being a hyprocrite. I'm probably too far over into the introspection side but I feel like I need to be at this point to change my point of reference.

Grace, I know I have thought I was so 'right' most of the time that I never stopped to consider what the secular world thought. You are right!

Anonymous said...

going from being a pastor to now barely knowing any christians, i can say a lot about what they think. but the point is not what they think. because I don't believe that most Christians even know what being a Christian really means, our culture is so twisted. All I know is that my life presents a conundrum for most non christians in our lives. . . they can't get us. and that's because we aren't normal, conservative, Bible reading, Jesus professing, Americans. I go from there, and don't spend time trying to pick apart everyone's criticisms, both christians and non christians.

Barb said...

Anonymous,
Maybe this is why I am having trouble answering this question. I checked with my daughter and she did not say anything that has not been said. It is all just what you would expect. Not being real, being environmentally challenged, judging, out of touch, having an adgenda.... I think we just need to live among them and not call them "them." It sounds like you may be doing that. If you write about it please post here.

Happy said...

Barb - hi. I found you through Emerging Grace - THANK YOU for this post. I'm in a similar situation - volunteer as a worship leader at a mega-church, lead worship for a college/20somethings ministry at said church, and nanny for a family that sends the kids to Christian school. The oldest is in public school now, but gets on and off the bus. How do you meet people who aren't Christians when this is your life?!?!? I've tried - but even just striking up conversations on the playground takes awhile, and eventually 2/3 of those people ended up being people from my church! and one woman who attempted to evangelize me... :)

Good for you for asking your daughter - honestly - what she thinks. Maybe I should ask my Hindu neighbors...they're the only people I know that I'm sure aren't Christians...

looking forward to part 2 later...

peace,
Happy

Jason said...

As someone who has also gone from knowing no unbelievers to regularly hanging out with 70-100 non-Christian friends, I can say that they rarely ever talk about what they think of Christians. It's not a big deal to them.

Now many of my friends are from other countries, and for some of them, when they think of a Christian they just think of me or my believing friends. But even the Americans, who do tend to be more jaded than any other nationality because they associate evangelical Christianity with a political ideology, are generally neutral. The worst thing I think I've heard is "I wish there were more Christians like you" (implying that the way I talk about grace is not the norm). US/European catholics really feel that religion = guilt, but I have never heard them complain about "Christians" and they generally receive what I say about love & grace as some new revelation, not with suspicion.

The bottom line is that it's not the world, but wounded Christians that are critical of Christians. And the world doesn't need anyone to apologize for other Christians, they just need someone to introduce them to Jesus.

BrotherKen said...

I can remember that before I was a Christian, I hated the way Christians would be always looking to push their beliefs on others. You know, praying in public restaurants, praying after a touchdown, etc. I just hated them for that. Now, as a believer, I still don't like that type of aggressive, in-your-face display. Actually, I was quite aggressive myself for a while, but I soon found out it just didn't work.

Another thing I think that most non-Christians don't like about Christians is the rampant hypocrisy we see today. I blame that on the leaders of our churches, but regardless of where the blame lies it is a fast spreading disease. The love of Christ should flow from our lives so consistently that others would know we are Christians almost immediately. Eighty percent of the people of N. America call themselves a Christian and yet look at the poverty and crime.

I quit church because of the hypocrisy. And I'm not talking about new believers that haven't yet grown in the faith. I am talking about hypocrisy in the church leadership. Many good and committed Christians have quit church. I am ashamed to call myself a Christian, so yeah there are problems that need to be addressed.

Barbara (aka Layla) said...

Great post, this makes so much sense and is probably true for a lot of us. Wow. I know I am guilty of saying what "they say" but have never heard "them say it" "we" just said
"they" said it.