If God would choose to place an “advert” for Christianity, I wonder what He would do. Would he trust us Christians to put the ad out? Would he have us put billboards up beside the freeway with “Jesus loves you” slogans as catchphrases? Maybe he will trust us to post those posters on our Facebook pages or our FB friends’ walls about the grace of God? Will that encourage non-believers to rush to the nearest church to accept their new found faith? Will that heal the hurt and frustration they may have experienced at church while growing up, or the hurt that other Christians may have caused them? Maybe He will trust us Christians to interpret the Bible correctly and not use it as justification to judge people and tell non-believers that they will go to hell. That will certainly get them rushing back to their childhood churches. I think not.
I wish us Christians could rather tell everyone how bad we really are at advertising for God. I wish we could just tell everyone that they shouldn’t look at how we “interpret” the Bible, and how we judge those that differ from us. We should tell them that they shouldn’t look and listen to us when we debate against science as to prove that certain things happened as it stands in the Bible.
How much time and effort do we still want to waste trying to prove Noah and Jonah or the “seven day creation”? (because we can’t) We are just human after all. We are just as fallible as those we so love to judge. I certainly don’t want to be used as an advert to Christianity, because I’ve done a lot of stupid stuff, but that’s between me and God. Like Bono (U2) said, “I’d be in deep trouble if Karma was to finally be my judge. Luckily it isn't, but it doesn't excuse my mistakes, so I’m holding out for God’s Grace.” How many wars and death do we still want to have as justification to a religion that we established in the name of God? How will we continue to explain away when bad things happen to good people? Although we know some answers it often falls short to satisfy the arguments. Why even try then?
If God had to rely on us to advertise Christianity for Him, I’m afraid we will be driving those that need Him, further away, just as we do with our arguments and judgments when responding to comments on here.
The best advice I want to give my daughter about boys as she grows up is: “Don’t pay attention to what they say, but watch carefully what they do.”
When are we going to learn that non-believers do not want to listen to what us Christians say, but they are watching very carefully what we do? In that regard I often wonder if we even should “practice what we preach”, because I’m not even sure we are always “preaching” the right way or things.
Jaco Strydom mentioned a few things about Christianity. When a religious structure starts selling itself as thè place to experience God at a certain time and place, it starts to gather a lot of power. No wonder politics sometimes mix very well with certain religious structures. It then results in just another power game in this power hungry world.
The danger in organized religion is that it tries to “capture” God so that people “can come and have a look at Him”. Yes sure you can make a living from showing a creature in a cage. Lots of people make lots of money from God. But the truth is, God won’t and cannot be captured like this and He doesn’t work that way. That creature in the cage is not God. That is a poor advert for Christianity.
Christians sometimes have the knack of making the Gospel way too complicated because it tries to schedule and formalize the experience of God. The function of Christian religion should be to help people to discover God and to experience Him and show that He is nearer than a heartbeat.
Jaco also says in his article that we as Christians sometimes want to form a God that mostly look like us or how we want Him instead of how He really is. Also not a good advert. Mark Twain said: “God created man in his own image. And man, being a gentleman, returned the favour.”
On Sundays we preach, but the religion says something else for the rest of the week, which is what makes non-believers very skeptical. The Christian church should actually have an ad outside that reads: “Drug addicts, prostitutes, criminals, glue sniffers, racists, disillusioned people, homeless people, bigots, atheists, unemployed, lonely people, depressed people, liars, religious people, tired people, beggars –ALL WELCOME!!!!” (I’m sure I left out quite a few, but you get the picture)
The point is that Christian structures (or adverts) shouldn’t only be tailored for Christians, but for all. It must rather invite and not judge or exclude. So I can’t say exactly what an appropriate ad for Christianity would look like, but I’m sure that we are currently battling to get it right.