Against Christian Goofiness

When I was in college I worked as a waiter at a restaurant.

I was a young Christian, and in the course of praying about my obligations that semester and the number of hours of classes I was taking I felt the Lord was telling me to quit my part-time job.

When I told my manager, who was not a Christian, that I was quitting, he asked why. I said, “because God told me to.”  I still remember the look on his face; it was a cross between quizzical and sarcastic.

There was no good reason to say what I said, which I’ve addressed in a recent blog. Though sincere, it was immature and goofy.

I had a pastor in the late 1990s who was convinced Y2K was going to be a worldwide disaster. He said he was going to warn his neighbors and encourage them to store food and water. Of course, Y2K came and went and life went on as it had in 1999, though, for my pastor I suspect, with less credibility with his neighbors.

Last year a group of Christians received media attention for warning us the “rapture” would happen on May 21, 2011. One of them even quit medical school to prepare for it. When it didn’t happen, their determined leader said he’d miscalculated and set a new date. I went out on a limb and predicted he would be wrong a second time, and of course he was.

When you consider the three examples above, ask yourself what any of them have to do with making disciples, which is what Christians are called to do. You can share the gospel with someone without telling them of your hunch the world is headed for disaster on January 1, 2000 or will end on May 21, 2011, or that God told you to quit your job.  What all of the above surely did was make it less likely those Christians, myself included, would be taken seriously later if they shared the gospel with those people.

If you, like me, have been guilty of Christian goofiness, here’s a tip: Instead of trying to convince people God has spoken to you, try to convince them He lives in you by loving them. If you do, It’s less likely you’ll be accused of being goofy and more likely you’ll be accused of being a Christian. GS