Skip to main content

Christians Behaving Badly

Think about it: When was the last time you turned on the evening news and saw a story of a Christian doing something good?  The kind of thing that made you proud to share a common faith with that person?  I know every now and then we’ll see Christians at DFW greeting troops or handing out toys to underserved kids at Christmas—but I am talking about news.  Like, for example, last week when several religious leaders, including Rev. Jim Winkler of the United Methodist Board of Church and Society, were arrested protesting the budget deal that led to cuts in services to those in need.  Did you hear much about that?  Probably not.  But a pastor in Florida wants to burn a Koran to commemorate September 11 (huh?) or a group of Christians protest military funerals because America is too tolerant of homosexuality (what?) and it’s front page news.  Do those Christians ever consider how non-Christians now think about the Church?

Next Sunday, August 14, we’ll start a new four-part sermon series called “Christians Behaving Badly.”  We’ll talk about how Christians are often spoken of by those beyond the walls of the church—how easy it is to assume everyone feels the same way about things because we share a common faith.  Is it true?  Is it that easy to put everyone in the same boat?  Jesus spoke often—and I mean often—about how others will react to how we live our lives.  And how God sees us.  “By this everyone will know you are my disciples: if you have love for one another” (John 13:35).  “When you fast (or pray, or, presumably, do other Christian things), do them in secret, not boastfully or in ways that draw attention to yourself.  And your Father, who sees in secret, will reward you.”  For those who needed attention and headlines, Jesus  often said, “They have received their reward.  But I say to you…” (Matthew 6).

The point is: God wants us to live righteously, not self-righteously.  Do you see the difference?  To live righteously means to be holy in all we do.  So that others see us and they say, “Oh yeah, I know what s/he is all about.  I’ve seen/heard what they believe—and not just on Sundays or when cameras are present.”  One of my favorite verses is Hebrews 13:7: “Remember your leaders, those who spoke the word of God to you; consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith.”  I try every day to live up to that responsibility, and every Christian should too.  “Christians Behaving Badly” will remind us of how we should let our light shine in appropriate ways.  If you have stories or experiences you would like to share I can incorporate them into the messages.  Or if you have friends who are “un/de churched” you could invite them to the series and we could explore together how Christ calls us to live out our faith.


Popular posts from this blog

The Famous Black Cat Band

This week my former high school band director, Mr Reinke, died. Mr Reinke is a legend in my hometown of Bay City. He was the leader of our Black Cat Band for many years. He was a fiery man, a perfectionist with extremely high standards. He was a gifted musician. He and I both played the trombone; one of us sounded like a goose being strangled. The other sounded like... well I can't think of a metaphor to properly describe Mr Reinke's horn. It was amazing. He would pull that thing out occasionally to show us how to properly play a part of a song and the sound was spellbinding. 
Mr Reinke was very innovative in his music selections. He had us playing the most random music, from popular stuff of the day by Michael Jackson to Also Sprach Zarathustra (popularly known as the theme from 2001: A Space Odyssey) to Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody. This song in particular was a great choice-- it's amazing, complicated; however, this was the late 1980s. The song was originally released…

Grief Is a Powerful Thing

"So deeply do we care for you that we are determined to share with you not only the Gospel of God but also our own selves." 1 Thessalonians 2:8
My first couple of Sundays at Grace, early in July, a couple of different people asked me this question immediately before worship: "How are you feeling?" My response: "Terrified." This was met with sort of shocked looks, then afterward the same person would say something like, "See that was ok." I've always been nervous before preaching-- the ramped up nerves help me to focus on my task and give me energy. But this seemed stronger. On Saturday nights my first couple of months at Grace I would hear an inner critic saying, "You're not prepared." "You're going to bomb today." Most Sundays he was wrong. A couple of sermons did bomb, but that happens. I decided to seek out a spiritual director to help me discern what was going on with me. I knew it was internal, but couldn…

a response to gideons international

last sunday prosper united methodist church welcomed representatives of the gideons to share about their ministry. how many times have you stayed in a hotel or visited someone in the hospital and found a gideons Bible there? and while no one can argue that reading the Bible is a bad thing, or that distributing Bibles to others in native languages is inherently harmful, i would like to offer some thoughts on the practices of the gideons, as they were described at church.

1. bravo to the gideons for distributing 73 million Bibles last year. however, most of the Bibles they sent were tiny new testaments with psalms. i am a Christian, and i love the words of the new testament. but those words have their foundation in the old testament, and to remove thousands of years of traditions and stories of God's powerful love and acts of salvation diminishes the power of the whole Bible. we must never forget that the old testament (or "first" testament or "hebrew Bible"…