Last night I read an article from Relevant magazine which spoke about the idea of what it means to be a “good” Christian. Great article.
It addresses our prejudices, misperceptions and expectations. Too often we look through the eyes of a Pharisee when we think of what a “good” Christian is. I’ve even heard people use the phrase “good” Christian to describe people that fit their definition of a nice person who is decently dressed, doing the things that they are supposed to, not causing any trouble, sitting quiet in church, paying attention, etc. You know the deal.
I applaud the author’s attempt to show that this stereotype is off. One person’s “good” Christian behavior is another person’s bad habitual sin. We could spend all day pointing out the speck in others eyes while we ignore the log in our own. And does that really accomplish anything anyway?
Based on the running definition of what a “good” Christian is, Jesus would have never made the cut – for one thing, he hung out with the outcasts of society (prostitutes, tax collectors, fisherman, zeolots, etc). Fast forward to today and I doubt we’ll find many of these same type of characters in our churches. I doubt many of them would feel welcome or feel like a part of the community.
So what does this mean for church? Many things, but I’ll stick to one. Is “church” a place we go to once a week where the focus is inside the building and where we can pat ourselves on the back for be a “good” Christian? Or is “church” a community of broken people who gather to be recharged to go out into the world where other broken people are and deliver a message of hope and grace, to be with those who are hurting, to accompany people, learn from them and share a message of faith that can fill the void in each person?