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A friend shared a blog post to his Facebook wall. The image was that of a Corona beer bottle stuffed into the sand of a beach. The title was “Ten Christian Stereotypes I Hate”.
1. Cussing around me is a no-no.
2. I don’t like homosexuals.
3. I don’t drink alcohol.
4. I don’t like to have fun.
5. I’m judging you because you act differently than me.
6. I am ignorant or uneducated about beliefs other than my own.
7. I think I’m better than you.
8. I’m Republican.
9. I ignore science.
10. I’m a hypocrite.
I agreed with the author. I thought most of these are Christian stereotypes, meaning many nonChristians assume these ten points about Christians. I liked the list because I think these stereotypes hinder people who are not Christians from spending time with Christians and from listening to Christians. Let’s think about it… if a nonChristian thinks that I am ignorant of all beliefs other than Christianity and that I ignore science, will I be able to offer an educated discussion on religious pluralism, the latest Richard Dawkins book, Islamic influence in the world, or what it means to be living in the “New Age”?
If a nonChristian typically swears a lot and finds out that I am a Christian, will he or she then not want to be around me in fear that I will either be judging him or her or act differently, holding a grudge the whole time?
If someone thinks I don’t like them, will that person want to be around me? If someone thinks I don’t like a certain group of people, will he or she act differently around me because he or she does like that group?
I definitely think these stereotypes can setup immediate barriers between the nonChristian and Christian, so I shared my friend’s Facebook posting of this list. However, when I shared it, I received many comments from people who thought the author, Brett Shoemaker, wasn’t even a Christian! They thought he was mocking Christianity. They thought he was twisting Scripture. They thought a Christian would never say the things he did in the blog post. If I liked his post, does that mean I’m twisting Scripture? Does it mean I am not a Christian?
I arranged an interview with Brett and I let him know in advance that I was coming with argumentative questions. I shared many of the comments with Brett for him to address. I also shared other tough questions that I think led to the confusion and offered Brett a moment to explain himself… because to be honest, the way Brett worded some of his explanation could lead one to think that Brett is justifying getting drunk, swearing, homosexuality, and all other sorts of sins that are condemned in the Bible, especially if the Christian reading it fits the stereotype.
I grill Brett to find out if these stereotypes are in fact things that Christians should uphold and obey as commands from God, or if these Christian stereotypes fall into the realm of Christian freedom.
And for you dear listener, If these stereotypes are NOT in fact mandated by Scripture, and if these stereotypes have become unnecessary burdens or divisions for nonChristians to hear and receive the Gospel, then how should Christians respond who DON’T fit these stereotypes? And if a Christian DOES fit these stereotypes, how should he or she respond to them if they aren’t in fact Scriptural mandates for everyone?
Send your thoughts, comments, and questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Feel free to write them, or if you want, record a short one minute reply and send it as a mp3 file for me to share on a future episode or Reconnect.