Today, if someone doesn’t personally know a certain type of people group, they base their opinions of what they think they are like based on media portrayals. One friend of mine told me his Asian co-worker based her view of African Americans off of what she saw on BET and World Star Hip-Hop (yes…that horrible place is actually shaping how we are seen globally. Consider that the next time you post a fight video).
I love being in environments, cultures and people that are largely identified as “unreached.” I love it. Its why I’ve loved my 13+ years doing ministry in New England and the Bay Area – radically unchurched/dechurched parts of America. The Bay Area is statistically still the least “reached” region in the country and Rhode Island is the “Least Bible Minded” part of the country based on recent data. Many of the people I’ve met along the way don’t personally know many Christians. Most of the view they have of Christians come from media portrayals, bad press and Fox News. So when they encounter you or me, they are dealing with us based on what they’ve seen in the media.
I had the pleasure of having an interaction with a wonderful woman who will remain nameless. Not because she’s not real, she is, but because I want to address the issue at play not the person. But for the sake of conversation let’s give her a fake name…Laura.
Laura is a self described lesbian and liberal. She only knows two Christians, her sister and her brother in law and we all know subjects like politics and religion are easy to talk about with relatives, right? Laura and I met through a Facebook interaction where she challenged me on something I said out of frustration and offered a very gracious rebuke. Then I did something that apparently she never thought was possible: I apologized to her and said “you’re right.” She was taken off guard that I Christian would apologize to her, correct his position and ask HER for forgiveness. This amazed her. She told her sister, whom I know, about how the interaction impacted her and opened her up to want to ask me some questions about me as a Christian. But FIRST, she needed to address the assumptions she made about me.
All Laura knows of me is our interaction on Facebook and that I am an “evangelical Christian.” So she hit me with 16 assumptions she has of me and, if you’re a Christian reading this, of you. This next series of posts will be her questions and my responses to them. My responses aren’t theological or sociological treaties, just short answers to her questions so that we can get to the real questions she has. I don’t go into long biblical dissertations about these, sometimes lofty, issues. I answer them FROM my worldview without giving a full explanation of my worldview. Again, this is part of an ongoing dialogue so there is no pressure for me answer these questions all at once. We are working towards a long, trusting relationship so I don’t have to hit her with everything I have up front. I say that to YOU Christian friends so that you aren’t bashing me in the comments section about being too soft on the answers. “You didn’t bring up Leviticus or Judges or Romans! You’re weak!” No, I’m answering her questions one at time over time knowing that these aren’t the only questions she’ll have. I’m giving you some insight to a dialogue, not the script to monolog.
Her assumptions and ideas about us are things I want to address so that we can #MakeEvangelicalGreatAgain. Not because we need to have the “acceptance” of the outsider, but the Bible does call us to have a good report with those on the outside. So, without further ado, here’s the first of sixteen assumptions we address. Because I (and by proxy you) are a Christian:
- You are a right wing Republican
My response: I am not. I am registered as an independent and have voted on both sides of the political spectrum. I voted for Gore, Bush, Obama and didn’t vote in the last election because I didn’t like my choices. I know…given what it took for my own grandparents to have the right to vote and then to NOT vote at all is shameful but I also wasn’t thrilled with my options that year. I tend to not identify with the mass majority of Republican views on public issues. I don’t feel like either party truly represents my views and the Tea Party flat out scares me :). I have joke that reads “right wing, left wing doesn’t matter because I feel like they’re just flipping me the bird.” So no, I am not a right winger. I only turn to Fox “News” when I want to feel angry or just laugh. I’m not excited about ANY of the options this year either and honor the work of the people who suffered before me, I’ll still vote but it’ll be a write in vote for my wife or someone I love. 🙂