HELP, I'M A VICTIM OF IDENTITY THEFT
from: Shane Bennett
Identity theft. DUM duh dum DUM. It's the scary crime du jour.
Having not been a victim of identity theft, I probably overly
downplay its significance. (Similarly, I had to put on a jacket
this morning, therefore global warming is a myth.) But I do suspect
the Church, at least in the US - at least the evangelical Church
in the US - may have suffered identity theft on a grand scale.
We seem to be "the Church that is against stuff." We are defined
by what we oppose. Try this: Ask someone you don't know well
to list the things that Christians are in favor of and the things
that they're against. I'll bet you your subscription price to
Missions Catalyst that the second list is twice as long as the
first. (Either way, if the person gives you a combined list with
over five items, take them for a coffee and a conversation. It
might be enlightening.)
A quick ramble through the gospels seems to indicate that Jesus
was for a lot more than he was against. Consider the early part
of Mark's account. Jesus is for (among other things): announcing
the kingdom, praying, casting out demons, healing mothers-in-
law, forgiving sins, and hanging out with both stinky people
(fishermen and lepers) and nice smelling ones (Pharisees and
At least as long as I can remember, we've had a long list of
things we are against and things we don't do: We don't play cards,
we don't dance, we don't listen to music with a "rock and roll
beat," we don't drink, smoke, chew, or go with girls who do.
Lately we've been against abortion, evolution, stem cell research,
gay people, and both liberal politics and politicians. This is
not to say that there is nothing we should be against. For instance,
I'm solidly against abortion. The point is that we've been framed,
rightly or wrongly, as "the people who are against stuff."
What would it be like if we were known for what we were for?
It would be pretty cool. What would you like Christians to be
known for? Here's my abbreviated list: Christians laugh and sing,
kiss their wives, work hard, give fun gifts, and keep standing
through disappointment and failure. They listen, throw decent
parties, and tell interesting stories. They always seem to be
Assuming you are reading the Missions Catalyst because you're
into missions, and considering anyone who's into missions part
of my tribe, can I ask you a favor? We, of all people, should
be Christians who are for, rather than against. We are for the
growth of God's kingdom, in which he is known, loved, and followed.
We are for churches being all they can be, as well as the people
who make them up. And we are for peoples and cultures becoming
all God has in mind for them, living the best possible lives
under his loving authority. So here's the favor: In the coming
months join me in asking God and looking around for ways to reframe
the argument. Let's lead the way (If I can be that presumptuous)
in returning to a Church that is for God's good purposes over
and above one that is against the corruption of evil. If you
need a shallow place to step in, how about this Friday inviting
over some international students to play cards.
Thanks to John Smulo (http://www.snipurl.com/16xhv) for sparking