What are we talking about today?

I'll get back to theme days once I find a groove of posting regularly. In the meantime, most of my posts are about some variation of books, bikes, buses, or Broadway. Plus bits about writing, nonprofits, and grief from time to time.

This blog is mostly lighthearted and pretty silly. It's not about the terrible things happening in the world, but please know that I'm not ignoring those things. I just generally don't write about them here.

12 February 2012

How Not to Be a Jerk in One Simple Step

I was on campus Friday (okay, I'm on campus every day), and I passed some people holding a sign that read, "You Deserve Hell." Oh, good grief.

I passed them twice, because I went from my work to an event and back to work again. When I came back, the man had a small crowd of students around him. Now, this blog is G-rated, because I don't want any of my friends' kids seeing anything untoward on my blog, so I'll put this as delicately as possible: The man inquired into a student's reproductive life, and upon hearing his answer, suggested that since he's already going to hell, the student should indulge in the actual deed instead of the poor substitute he's been contenting himself with.

How's that for delicate? Gosh, I love euphemisms.

Anyway, I walked faster at this point because 1) I was late for work and 2) I was embarrassed for the man speaking, which is a really uncomfortable feeling. I got back to the office and promptly tweeted:

My irritation with these people is on several levels:

1. I'm also a Christ follower, and unlike those people, I'm on campus every day interacting with students. I don't come in once for a stunt and leave. I wear Christian t-shirts and it's no secret that I go to church. I would really hate for someone to walk past those people, then see me with a Bible bowl t-shirt, and refuse to talk to me because of association. I'm not the same as them.

2. That's terrible, terrible advice. The loss of morals is hardly the only danger involved in doing the deed.

3. Scaring people into following Jesus is so 1700.

I don't for one second believe that my Christianity will just rub off on those around me because of the t-shirts I wear. But here's what I know: Because I tweet about being at church or Facebook about going to prayer group, because I don't swear every third word, because I wear my t-shirts along with a smile and a desire to get along with my classmates... because of those things, sometimes people come talk to me when they need help. Sometimes I get a Facebook message from someone I haven't seen in years asking me to pray for them. Sometimes I'm asked if my church is a judgement-free place. (It is.) And sometimes, I'm a point of safety for 20-year-olds who aren't as advanced in their faith as I am and who have to cope daily with the onslaught of atheism and agnosticism that is as characteristic of our campus as it is of any other state university. I love being the person who can reassure my friends that they aren't alone in loving Jesus.

So, the One Simple Step? Don't. Don't be a jerk. Don't be so aggressive in your faith-sharing that you drive people away. Do a favour to other believers around you, and don't be a poor representation of what it means to love Jesus. Just don't.

So, I know that my readers aren't jerks. What do you think? If you're a believer, how do you love your neighbour? What's your favourite thing about your church (or whatever you call your gathering of believers)?

And if you aren't a believer: I'm trying really hard not to be a jerk. I hope everyone around you is doing the same.


Anonymous said...

I share it simply, like you, by living it. And driving people around every once in a while. Too bad I'm not in Austin with you!!!!!

J E Fritz said...

If there's one thing you've never come off as, it's a jerk. If someone said "Good Christian" I'd think of you, not those who bully and scare people. In fact, most of the Christians I've met aren't jerks, but the ones who are? Much more vocal.

Su said...

Oooh, I'm now filled with curiosity as to who Anonymous is! But whoever you are: Great job!

@JE: That's very sweet! Thank you! And alas, the jerks do tend to be the loud ones...

erica and christy said...

That's true, they are the loud ones, aren't they? So I guess to not be a jerk about it, your suggestions of t-shirts and tweets and status updates reflecting your beliefs are totally non-jerk-like! I tend to talk a lot about teaching Sunday School and let people ask if they want to know more.

Su said...

Lovely. Perfect.

Karen M. Peterson said...

I've never understood why people believe they're representing Christ and his perfect love by hating others. We were taught to be kind, and that's what I try to do.

Su said...

'Tis true.