Christian Stereotype. It honestly makes my skin crawl.
You’ve learned about the greatest news the world has ever known – that Jesus died for our sins and rose from the dead. So what’s the next move?
Become completely isolated from the people in your community? Become a person who proudly changes so drastically that there is literally no more common ground between you and a non-believer? Become a geek that no one outside the church wants to be around?
Jesus told us to take up our cross and follow Him. His Apostle, John, said that we must not love the world. But those things mean that there are a lot of sacrifices we have to make to serve God. It does not mean that we have to become completely socially illiterate.
Our cities need us to be real people. And they need us to be able to relate to them. Otherwise, we will never be able to explain God’s goodness in a way they will understand.Our cities need us to be real people. Click To Tweet
Don’t Be a Christian Music Stereotype
“I only listen to Christian music. Christ Tomlin, Matt Redman, Steven Curtis Chapman. I even get a little crazy and sometimes throw in some Toby Mac. Would you like worship or gospel tonight? Since there aren’t any other kinds of music, I’ll assume you probably want worship if you’re white and gospel if you’re black.”
I get the idea that you don’t want to sin due to the music listen to, but dude – a little Bruno Mars isn’t going to turn you into a Satan worshiper.
And even edgier music such as Kanye, Bieber, Lady Gaga. You shouldn’t avoid it just because they have some swear words or adult themes. You don’t need to embrace it, but you should be familiar with it, because they sing about issues that every person deals with.
Their art brings out what real people are going through. And if we love people, then we must work to understand their real-life problems.
Secondly, this attitude doesn’t just apply to music. It applies to all art. Become cultured. Not for the sake of seeming like an intellectual person, but so that you can find common ground with people in your city and show why the gospel is so attractive to their everyday lives.
Don’t Be a Christian Right Stereotype
“I’m a gun-tootin’ Republican, alright? The only important issues are abortion and homoseck-shul marriage. And I guess we oughtta kick out those Mexicans, too. All you commie liberals out there better shut up. This is ‘Merica!”
Alright, I know this one went a little overboard. Just so you know, I’m not against conservative politics. I just had this picture in my head, and honestly, it’s just funny. I couldn’t help myself.
But the idea remains that we look silly if we can only talk about The Big 2 – abortion and homosexual marriage. They are very important because they get at whether God’s Word can be trusted about these moral issues. But they aren’t the only issues that are important to the American people.
But even if you are versed on the complex system of U.S. politics, that doesn’t mean that you should go all bumper-sticker-style on people and slam your views down people’s throats.
Again, it’s about finding common ground. Yes, hold high moral standards for yourself and for our government. But don’t be so obtuse to think that those who don’t believe the Scriptures don’t even know how to think.
Be respectful, and have conversations about these things as they come up. But your goal isn’t to have a Republican congress. Your goal is to show people why Jesus is so good.Your goal isn't to have a Republican congress. Your goal is to show people why #Jesus is so good. Click To Tweet
Don’t Be a Christian Cliché Stereotype
“Have you been washed in the blood? Oh, you haven’t? Well, I’m going to pray a hedge of protection around you, then. I feel led to tell you right now, ‘bless your heart’. You gotta ask Jesus into your heart. You see, when God closes a door, he opens a window. Right now, is the season of your life when you gotta have a walk with God.”
Besides, all those clichés from above – what do they even mean? Even if you’ve been in the evangelical church for a while, they don’t come from the Bible (with the exception of being “washed in the blood“).
Speak using normal language, so that people can relate. So that they can understand Jesus. You’re not going to for confusion on this.
Don’t Be a Christian Bubble Stereotype
“Man, we just had this great discussion about why premillennial dispensationalism is really the only way to go. I love having talks like this, and that’s why I’m glad all my friends are Christians. No, I don’t know about the presidential primaries or the latest riot in an American city. But those things aren’t important – as long as I know the difference between Calvinism and Arminianism, and why I’m a cessationist. I like to love my neighbor in a theoretical way – in that I generally love the people in my community. I don’t know any of them, but if they come to me, I will tell them about Jesus.”
Yes, you should work to understand the historic theological debates within Christianity. And yes, you should work to build Christian relationships, centered around encouraging one another and sharpening your minds.
But if you don’t know any non-Christians (or even if you don’t spend a significant amount of time with non-Christians), then you literally can’t obey the Scriptures. You have to love them practically. Not just theoretically.
And if you want to love them in a real way, then you have to understand the issues they are dealing with. Take time to learn about current events and their effects on our society. Interact with people who disagree with you, so that you can truly know them.
And then, tell them about Jesus.
Don’t Be a Good Ole Boy Stereotype
“I go to church every Sunday. I know how to put in a hard day’s work, but I’m still very hygienic when you see me around town. Yeah, I get drunk every weekend, and yeah, I sleep around, but don’t judge me. Because I’m generally a good guy. My mama was a Christian, so I guess I am one, too.”
But Jesus said that He is the Light, the Way, and the Truth, and that no one comes to the Father except through Him. So first of all, it is not your good-guy-ness that “gets you to heaven”. It is belief in Christ that allows you to approach God and promises you a resurrection.
Second of all, no one is a good guy. We’ve all sinned.
Third of all, if you believe in Christ, you can’t just go around sinning more. He wants us not to walk in the flesh, but to walk in the Spirit. This means that we must make God’s priorities of holiness our own.
Don’t be a good ole boy. Be a follower of Christ.
Also published on Medium.