Bri Johns – Student Pastor, Director of Programming
Can I vent here for a second? I’m tired of hiding my love for McDonalds. I love their fries – best fries on the earth (especially straight out of the fryer and covered in salt). I love that their menu mimics every other fast food menu out there. Don’t believe me? The Southern Style Crispy Chicken Sandwich is just like the Chick-fil-A Chicken Sandwich, and we all know McCafe = Starbucks. I love their play areas because they give me a break from my kids and a place to catch up with a good friend.
In today’s age of Paleo and Whole30 and Clean Eating, I find myself concealing my true love for Mickey D’s. It’s not culturally acceptable. It’s unhealthy (thanks, Supersize Me). I hide my golden arches bags and cups. I find myself looking for sneaky ways to ask friends if they are into McDonald’s, too. And if they are disgusted, well, “Yeah, that place is horrible! I’d never eat there!”
I’m afraid to be “out” as a McDonalds lover.
The world’s values are different today and culture is definitely shifting. Midcentury décor is trending, but midcentury values are passé. Families don’t congregate around the dinner table, they’re busy getting takeout and hanging out on the football field for practice and games every night of the week. Our children are more educated than we ever were and yet they are failing to launch into the adult world. We are hypersensitive about parenting, sexual labeling, one’s rights, and justice. The label “Christian” is synonymous with being conservative, ignorant, and intolerant.
I’m afraid to be “out” as a Christian.
I want to be accepted and able to share the goodness of Christ without evoking rage or disgust at first exchange. I want to do this and not have to sneakily reveal that I’m a Christian or keep it under wraps. But how?
Jesus was amazing at this. He might have stood out, but He didn’t distance Himself from culture. He was in it. Immersed. With the downtrodden, prostitutes, thieves and social outcasts. These people knew He was different from them, but felt accepted by Him anyhow. They were drawn to Him, not repulsed. The only disgust and rage He experienced was from the Pharisees and teachers of the law.
How did He do it? How was He so bold and yet still invited into their homes? How did He speak truth and still show perfect love to the hurting ones?
I believe the apostle Paul is an incredible example to us in this way. Jesus is hard to emulate, being that He is perfect. In Romans chapter 1 Paul writes… “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes,” (Romans 1:16).
Christians often use this passage as a bold statement of faith, like standing up to the world with fists raised and clenched. What I love is that Paul is really saying it with humility, not in boldness like a raving sidewalk preacher. Paul knew he was no different than the people he was preaching to.
“Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst.” (1 Timothy 1:15)
I think the key to being “out” as a Christian in this world is humility. We must see ourselves just as everyone else, admit that we don’t have this whole life thing figured out, and understand that we are just sinners saved by grace. Praise Jesus!
Being “out” as a Christian in this world means that I’m good with having my lesbian friends over for dinner. It means I’m not nervous having a glass of wine at a dinner party and also talking about my church. I’m okay with conversations about current events that contradict my values, because they challenge me to think and live more like Jesus – in the world that He placed me in.
I want people to see Jesus in me. I want them to see me as “one of the good ones” when they talk about Christians. I want them to feel safe around me, and not fearful that I might strike at them at any moment with a Scripture ambush. I want them to see me as someone who reserves judgment for God alone. I want to have complete reliance on the Holy Spirit to work on the hearts of my friends and family who do not yet know Him, and not find myself trying to sell them heaven and salvation.
Are you “out” as a Christian? Who are you afraid to reveal your faith to? Do you hide it?
Hey world, I eat French fries! We all eat French fries from time to time; don’t lie! I’m just a screw-up saved by grace, wanting to know and love God more. Come hang out with me!