Backyard Theologians

Don’t you thoroughly despise having someone’s personal theology crammed down your throat?  No matter how hard they’re trying to evangelize, don’t the so called “Bible thumpers” end up turning you off from hearing what they have to say, more specifically, from hearing the Gospel message?  I’ve noticed as I search for Christian blogs to read, that I enjoy “slice of life…with a Christian slant”, but what I usually end up with is a backyard theologian.  Writing in this manner is a mistake that comes from the zeal of a new Christian, or the pride of an old and pompous one, and it’s something that I, as I am well aware, am guilty of myself.  Sadly, arrogant Christian rants turn more people away from the Gospel than they ever draw to it; the condescending tones divide rather than invite.

 When you meet a new Christian, you’ll often notice just how dedicated to the Lord they may seem.  When you first believe, nay, when you first know for a fact, that Jesus Christ is Lord, you are filled with this passion, this fire that seems like it cannot be quenched.  You want to dedicate your life to the Lord and serve him in grand ways.  You want to save the world.  And why wouldn’t you?  When you realize how much God loves you and the sacrifice that you didn’t deserve but were offered as a result of that unconditional love, it would be selfish to bottle it up for yourself, right?

You join a church, you start a bible study, you tell all of your friends and coworkers what God has done for you and the sacrifice that he’s made with his only son to blot out your sins, you post encouraging words or your favorite passages on Facebook or Twitter, you start a blog…and you alienate yourself from the very people that you’re trying to reach.  Oops.

OK, how did this happen?  Maybe you need to retrace your steps.  Joining a church is a good thing.  Studying scripture is definitely good.  Sharing your testimony with your friends and coworkers is great.  Being positive on your favorite social network has got to be better than the usual mindless drivel you’re used to reading, and having a blog to write down your experiences should help you to grow…so, where the crap did you go wrong?

It’s not that any one of those things is a bad thing.  It’s not that any one of those things is the wrong thing.  But how you do each and every one of those things can make the difference on whether you’re going to get someone interested in hearing what you have to say, or more importantly, hearing the Gospel message through you, or labeling you a “Bible thumper” and being driven further from Christ than they were before you got to them.

It is important to note that following Christ will often result in losing a few followers on Twitter, but you want to make sure that you’re not tweeting in a condescending tone, making others think that you are some how better than they are.  A “self righteous” attitude will cause people to scoff at you and blow you off quicker than a twinkling of the eye.  If you’re a new Christian and you want to share your testimony and stories in a blog, cool, but if you don’t have formal theological training or years of Bible study under your belt, slamming your own theological theories down your readers throats probably isn’t going to get you any notches on the back of your Bible, either.

It’s easy to get caught up in trying to save everyone around you, and trying to share the Gospel with everyone you meet, but sometimes it’s better to take your time and set small and realistic goals for what it is you’re going to do for the Lord, or what it is the Lord is going to do through you.  Take a second to think about what it is you’re trying to do.  Are you trying to get as many people to confess “Jesus Christ is savior and Lord!” as you can, or are you trying to help truly lead those around you to Christ by showing them the kind of love that is actually portrayed in the Gospels?  It’s sometimes hard to think of yourself as just a very small piece of a very big picture, but that’s exactly what you are, and that’s exactly what God wants you to be.

In case you didn’t know, most of the things written in this article are things that I personally did; mistakes that I personally made.  As a new Christian, I could think of nothing but how I was going to serve the Lord, but I had no focus and no direction.  I was letting my own plans cloud what God had in store for me.  If you read through some of my past articles, you’ll notice that I stopped telling personal stories that anyone could relate to, and started telling stories that were designed to create a Christian persona for myself, complete with plenty of opinions and Biblical interpretations.

As I’ve grown spiritually, I’ve also gained a little more focus and direction.  I stopped writing in my blog for a time, and thought a lot about what God would have me do, rather than what I thought the world would now expect me to do.  Some of the big ideas and plans that came from being a new Christian stuck around, as I did just get accepted at Taylor University where I’ll be studying Christian Ministry, but at the same time, I was able to take a step back and realize that I’m meant only to play a small role; to be a small piece of a big picture.  I’ve become much more involved with my church than I was before, which is great because I get to interact with real people rather than the digital ones that I felt that I needed to preach to through my blog and social networking sites.  This has caused me to step out of my comfort zone and do things for the Lord in small way, but I feel that these little things will have a much bigger impact than the things I was previously trying to do.

Refocusing my efforts will be apparent in this blog as well, as, since I am not a theologian, I will not be cramming any of my backyard theology down your throats…I promise.  Instead, this is going to be the “slice of life…with a Christian slant” blog that it should have always been.  I don’t want to tell you all how you should act, feel, think, and do.  I want to tell you real stories, no matter how small or unimportant they may seem, of ways that the Lord has been working through and in my life.  I want to talk about things that are personally important to me as a Christian like Christian webcomics and art, and the ways the Lord is leading me to use my artistic spiritual gifts.  I want to share my experiences; triumphs and tragedies.  I don’t want to continue building a facade, I want to tell you about my struggles and doubts right along with the joy that comes from a relationship with Christ.

Most importantly, I don’t want to skew or misrepresent the Gospel through interpretations and opinions that draw attention to me, but I want to share what Christ is doing in my life so that I might draw attention to him.

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