Armchair Christians

Armchair Christians. What do I mean by that? Well the name refers back to a time when there were gentlemen’s clubs and stodgy old rich men gathered together in their favorite armchairs, smoking cigars with drinks in hand discussing the issues of the day. They discussed, intellectualized, argued, philosophized and critiqued everything: politics, religion, war, family…each person showing off their intellectual opinions and making their cases for why the world was revolving and how problems (according to them) could be solved.

Today those men’s clubs are a thing of the past, but with the proliferation of internet chat rooms, television commentaries, radio call-in shows, sound bytes and email media polls...everyone is pitching in their two cents. And we each have our own ideas, theories and opinions that will solve the world’s problems, if only someone would listen. When people debate, the only person anyone listens to is himself. Most people don’t want to hear or really understand what is being discussed. They are just bent on bringing their opponent down.

So with all that said. Is this something that we should be getting into as Christians? When Christians debate, comment or criticize about the ills of the world, we do it in context of God and the Bible. And the big focus always ends up coming back to the sins of other people. (Noticed I said “other” people…no one ever refers to their own sin.) Unfortunately, Christians have chosen this topic to bring into the world arena. Sin and sinful people. Whether it is sexuality, abortion, fornication or drug abuse, Christians speak out about these issues and the people who commit them, and because of that, the world has come to believe that Christians basically cannot tolerate people. Oh they do love people…only people who behave properly…people without flaws. Many Christians say that the sins of other people are the reasons why the world is going downhill. Well we know that. It’s a given. It all started with Adam, the fall of man. But the problems lies NOT with “other” people…but all of us. We are ALL sinful. We have all sinned, but the way these Christians argue, it seems as though they are perfect examples of humanity.

Don't get me wrong. I do believe we as Christians need to stand up and speak about our faith and belief in Christ and defend the gospel when it is distorted, but we need to speak His truth with the spirit of love and peace, not one of accusation and blame. By placing blame on real people or groups of people, what do we accomplish as Christians trying to witness the gospel of Jesus Christ? Nothing. There is a bad smell of self-righteous arrogance here. And everyone can see it. Because of this, many non-believers don't see Christians as caring, understanding, merciful or compassionate. That is bad. People now are against Christianity…because of Christians.

Have you ever walked into a room and heard two people arguing? Well chances are because of the tension and anger, you probably walked out of that room. The only thing people remember about an argument is the screaming…not what is being said.
That is happening to Non-Christians. They are walking out. The world sees Christians who love to smile and say ‘Have a nice day’, at the same time they see that we love to blame other people. In our case as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender people AND Christians…we are also the target of the wrath of our straight Christians brothers and sisters who think we are abominations. And in turn, we blame them as well.

Well, when people are criticized or yelled at, they shut down and fight back. Some Christians think that if they point out someone’s sin, they will repent. Well, no. When you point your finger at someone to say they are bad, you accomplish many things, but a lot of them are not good.
Non-Christians today have come to understand…that Christians don’t even get along with each other. That Christians enjoy pointing out the sins of people around them. That Christians love to send people to hell. That Christians think they are better than everyone else. That Christians cannot relate to real people and their problems. That Christians make laws to punish other people other than themselves. To name a few.

And what DON’T people see when all this criticizing and judging goes on? Jesus. People cannot see Jesus in Christians when we become blue in the face screaming about how sinful and wrong everything and everyone is. Rather, the world sees a group of self-serving intolerant people. I know that Christians really want goodness in the world, but are we just trying to make heaven on earth? This is not heaven. It is the earth, and the earth has people in it; people whom God created and loves and who need to hear the good news of God. What ever happened to “They will know we are Christians by our love”? Instead, Christians are known now for fighting with everyone.

And though none of us are perfect servants, Billy Graham, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Mother Teresa are a few people who didn’t just talk, discuss or debate about Christianity, but acted in real ways that changed the world. Rev. Graham preached the gospel, Archbishop Tutu stood up for justice and Mother Teresa cared for the poor.
We need to reexamine who we are and reflect on the real mission given to us by Jesus: To love God and love our neighbor.

What would happen if Christians throughout the world got out of their armchairs and stopped debating, critiquing, finger pointing and complaining? And what if we rolled up our sleeves and started to do the real work of God in love and humility and began to really care for the people of the world as Jesus did?

I bet that the world would probably come to know Jesus Christ in a very short time.

Help us Lord to open our eyes…to ourselves. And forgive us the damage we have done in Your name. Humble us and help us to be messengers of Your love…not messengers of anger and division. In Jesus’ name.

“For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.”        - 1 Corinthians 2:2

© 2004 Edrick

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