So, here’s the setup. I’m getting my haircut and my job or my hobbies are always a topic of conversation. A “stylist” after all is supposed to make you feel comfortable and “small talk” is usually the vehicle of choice.
What makes it difficult at times is both my job and my hobbies are intrinsically linked to my faith. And it’s my faith that has been labeled, relabeled, mislabeled, branded, stereotyped, sliced, diced, examined, mis-represented, radicalized, watered-down, de-legitimized, I could go on.
See, I’m a Christian.
And with that sentence you now have a few hundred previous or current assumptions about my claim to be a Christian. What kind of Christian am I? Am I a Christian who pickets the funerals of U.S. servicemen and women and stomps on the American flag? Am I a Christian who forms long lines outside abortion clinics and screams “truth” at women? Maybe I’m a Christian who votes for Conservative issues, someone who opposes the left and believes only the right is “right”.
[pullquote]The term Christian means something different depending on who you ask.[/pullquote] Maybe I’m a Christian who believes FOX is “fair and balanced” and any other network is pushing leftist anti-faith agendas in an attempt to destabilize the family unit and remove my Christian freedoms. Am I a Christian who is so hypocritical I’ll tell you how to live and not live any differently myself? Or maybe I’m a Christian who doesn’t think doctrine is that important, pursues “universal” agreeable “truth” and believes that even though we all have faith differences we can unite around common humanitarian goals and dreams.
Hopefully you can now see the crux of the matter. The term Christian means something different depending on who you ask. And as a Christian I am well aware of the possible perceptions.
What I’ve learned through college, post college and now as a married dude is that I enjoy breaking stereotypes and redefining our current social and political definitions of what it means to be Christian. In fact…I really enjoy it.
I’ve also learned that so much of what we see today with the label of Christian is often on one end of an extreme. From picketing funerals to a Frankenstein of world religions there is some tendency to “not be like the other” and in my opinion what emerges doesn’t really look like Jesus, his disciples or the early church.
So as the stylist snips away the question is asked, “So where do you work?” I reply, “The Fellowship of Christian Athletes, that big building across from the Royals stadium…”
And as the conversation continues I give her suttle clues that I’m not in her chair to condem her.
[pullquote]I’m keenly aware of the hypocrisy that has plagued Christ followers and will guard against it. [/pullquote]From that haircut forward, I get to demonstrate that you won’t find me stomping at a military funeral or outside an abortion clinic screaming. You won’t find me fighting for the “left” or the “right” because contrary to popular belief I can’t find any Biblical evidence Jesus was either. I will get my news from all sorts of media outlets because no one is balanced and everyone has a bias. I’m keenly aware of the hypocrisy that has plagued Christ followers and will guard against it…my “yes” will be “yes” and my “no” will be “no”. I will work to do two things, love God and love my neighbors (meaning everyone).
But I won’t waffle on doctrine. I’m not given an leeway to mix and match what “works for me”. Jesus, God the Father and the Holy Spirit are a package deal. I can’t add or subtract from the Gospel, I can’t sidestep or overlook that which makes me uncomfortable or is challenging. And I believe the “truth” is that which Jesus spoke of and what God reveals in all of the Bible, cover to cover.
One final look and the big black apron gets pulled away. As I pay at the counter and head to my car I have this thought.
With everyone I meet, work and play with, I have a mission. I will be given countless opportunities to break down all sorts of “Christian” stereotypes and hopefully help connect the created back to the Creator.