Tuesday, December 29, 2009


I am prepping right now for my High School Protestant Class at Ascension Academy this Spring. We are going to be working through the book unChristian. It is a good read and offers some really good insights for consideration.

Chapter 1 has a line tucked away in the opening page that has really struck me. Nothing particularly profound but very striking. David Kinnamon and Gabe Lyons spent three years looking at the perceptions of "outsiders" toward Christians and Church and spend the bulk of this book looking at the big perceptions that add to Christianity's image problem. One of the things they heard from Mosaics (16-29) repeatedly in their research was this little line: "They admit their emotional and intellectual barriers go up when they are around Christians, and they reject Jesus because they feel rejected by Christians."

This is so convicting to me. There are so many possible questions that flow out of this statement. Bad theology that unravels right here and good theology that is just begging to be heard. Conversations about kingdom and living for Jesus now and not merely hanging on for heaven. Confessions about how and when we really live incarnationally and when we fail. So many ideas.

But today as I sit on my couch watching the snow fall, I am struck very personally by the thought - "how do I represent Jesus?"


jeleasure said...

Happy New Year Arlene!
If I can interject one word into your article, it would be 'self-actualization'. O.k., two words with a hyphen.
A few ideas come to mind when I think of barriers going up among non-believers in the presence of believers. Light has no fellowship with darkness and the symbolic presence of God. People who are not willing to say they do not believe in God do not want to be reminded of Him. It stifles their conscience.

Arlene Kasselman said...

Jim while those barriers are true, the idea behing this book is taken from some assumptions that "outsiders" (their word, not mind)have about Christianity based soley on what they perceive looking in. It is a fascinating read: The big assumptions are: We are hypcritical, we only care about "saving" people, we are anti-homosexual, we are sheltered, we are too political, we are judgmental.

I know that some of these are going to irritate you :-) But this is what I would say. If people perceive Christianity in these ways, it is worth taking a look to see how we contribute to this.

I am sure once again you are scratching your head wondering how on earth you got blog-hooked-up with me.... :-)

Arlene Kasselman said...

I do apologize for my lack of spell check on that post!!!!

Happy New Year to you!!!

jeleasure said...

Thanks for the discussion.
I don't mind people having the ability to use their brains.
What I really care about is people. What I want to see in people is the knowledge of God's love and a receptive heart for God. And, eventually, that they have the confidence they will stand before God and hear the coveted words 'Well done'.
You are already aware of what I would say about the activity of homosexual's. What I need you to recognize in me is my desire to have the person who practices homosexuality to be my brother. For that, the activity can stay. I am God's child and that makes me a brother to the homosexual.
However, I think God has shown us the punishment that awaits one of His children who indulges, practices with zeal the sins He abhors.
And, there is another topic. Sin is sin, right? But, what is the sin people practice without repentance?

jeleasure said...

I still have more to say on that...

Sin is sin, but the sin people practice without repentance is the mark of a person who really does not want a relationship with God.

That kind of sin is the kind that suggest the sinner desires more for himself than what God has called us to; a relationship with God, reflecting the standard God has set.

We all sin. John Wesley is not alive to tell us that once we are saved, we will not sin. So, I'm going to take license and say, 'we all sin'.

So, how is a person to have a relationship with God if we all sin?

I believe the answer to that is to maintain a consistent effort to live by God's standard.

Once saved, always saved is true. That does not mean the sinner who got saved is going to heaven. It only means, Christ blood has made a way to have a relationship with God.
Blah, blah, blah...

jeleasure said...

'Blah, Blah, Blah'

only means, I know I am rambling.