All too often sharing our faith as Christians — if we even do it all — becomes a script that we recite. We do our best to remember to list all the features of what Jesus did on The Cross, before attempting to close the deal of eternal life for just one easy payment of ‘accept Jesus into your heart’.
We reduce evangelism to a ‘Gospel infomercial’.
Easter, the common name for the holiday marking Jesus Christ’s return from the dead, represents Christianity’s trump card- the unique claim to eternal life. All other world religions have had human founders that lived, then died. Their lives may have had meaning but ultimately their death meant nothing. In Christianity, Jesus Christ’s death meant EVERYTHING. It meant everything because by first-person historical accounts it was a death that lasted only a few days.
No other world religion has first-person historical accounts of their leader coming back to life. Why? For one simple reason- they all died and stayed dead and their bodies remain in the ground today. Jesus, on the other hand, left the tomb in which he was buried- and continues to live eternally today. This historical occurrence is what Easter Sunday, otherwise known as Resurrection Sunday, commemorates- not bunnies, baskets, or egg hunts.
I am a born-again Christian who attends a non-denominational Protestant church. At first thought you might think the election of a new Pope should not matter to me, or that I might even scoff at Catholic claims of papal authority and the whole black smoke/white smoke conclave theatrics. However, a major characteristic (and dare I say “admirable quality”) Catholics have in their ranks is organizational unity (for the most part) of their 1.2 billion adherents worldwide. In contrast, under the Protestant umbrella which approximately 840 million subscribe to some flavor or another, there are more denominations than you can shake a stick at.
At the top of this organizational unity within Roman Catholicism is of course the Bishop of Rome – the Pope. Since Pope Benedict announced his historic resignation, I have immersed myself in researching Catholic beliefs and theology out of mere curiosity and intrigue. As an adult convert to Christianity, everything is still relatively new to me so I just try to soak it all in with an open mind.
While bumper stickers, yard signs and Facebook posts are liberties we cherish as free speech, none of these change hearts and minds when it comes to the cause or candidate we champion …personal relationships do.
The fall political season is in full force, and with each year seeming more polarizing than the last, this year is no exception. In pre-social media days, we only had bumper stickers and yard signs at our disposal to passive-aggressively show our allegiances. But to share our personal opinions or have a debate with someone we actually had to talk to the person- either face to face, by phone, or sit down and rant over email. Each of these options usually allowed for more reasoned outcomes because saying something to someone’s face takes a little more tact, picking up the phone was work, and by the time an email was written one would have had some time to cool off.
Enter social media into the mix…