mclaren – the argument…

“A lot of what I say is rooted in pride, meaning I don’t want to let him *win* the Christianity argument.” And isn’t it so interesting that Christianity is presented as an argument? A friend of mine paid for some research recently where they asked 16-29 year olds what they thought about Christianity. And of the top 12 perceptions from 16-29 year olds, 9 were negative, one was neutral, and 2 were positive. Number one on the negative – 91% of 16-29 year olds shared this perception: Christianity is Anti-Homosexual. Number two: Christianity is judgmental. Now whatever you think about homosexuality, you will probably agree that this is not what Jesus wants people to think of first when they think about his followers.

But to what degree have we turned Christianity into an argument.

If I think back to the book that helped me the most in learning how to share my faith when I was a new Christian, it was called Evidence that Demands a Verdict. Great book. Helped me a lot. But have you ever thought about what that suggests. “Hi. Let me drag you into court and convince you that you’re wrong and guilty.” Have you ever thought about that? The language of the court. Christianity is an argument. We use words like “targeting” people. “He gave me some good ammunition.” Woah. We’re really moving in a good direction. From the courtyard to the battlefield. “Culture wars.”

Do we know how to talk about the Gospel in some category other than argument? You say, “Well what would that be?” Just a thought, I mean, I’m not saying this is how we’ve got to be, but Jesus called his message “news.” We might just think about that as a category. News – it’s stories about what’s happening… what you need to know.

News comes in all these different sections. If the news were to be here today, which section would you put it in – the Good News of Jesus. Would you put it in the religious news page? Would you put it in the world news page? Does the Gospel of Jesus have anything to say about business or local life? And I think that when Jesus talked about the Good News it wasn’t an argument, it was news that affected every area of life. Think about the message of Jesus: “The kingdom of God is at hand. Change your way of thinking. Follow me.”

She goes on. “When we started dating, we set up two ground rules. Number one, he doesn’t try to convert me, and number two I don’t demand that he gets involved with the Gay rights movement that I am very much involved with.” Oh boy. There it is. The big issue.

And let me just say – whatever you think about homosexuality, you’d better realize this: when a person like April talks about homosexuality, obviously she has a boyfriend – it’s not her own self-interest here. When she thinks about it she’s thinking about it on this level of human rights. How do we treat people? So often when Christians talk about it, they’re talking about it on this level of genital sexuality.

And so here we’re talking about two different things under the same word of homosexuality, and we’d better realize that if we want to talk to somebody like her, we’d better start talking about the same thing – make it clear what thing we’re talking about. Do we care about human rights? How do we want people to be treated? Do we want homosexual people to be shamed? Do we want them to be beat up? Do we want them to be mocked? Do we feel like, “Don’t let them have a job?” You know – how do we want homosexual people to be treated? Forget about whether they’re behavior is right or wrong – that’s the issue that she’s dealing with. And it’s interesting – she says “Look, my boyfriend feels like he has a morally superior position to mine because he’s a Christian and I’m not. He’s agreed to be tolerant of me, and I’ve agreed to be tolerant of him, even though I feel that he has a morally inferior position.”

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