Too many Christians are too much like Raider Nation.
Raider Nation may refer to all fans of the NFL’s Oakland Raiders, but most people think of The Black Hole when they think of Raider Nation.
The Black Hole is the name given to a few sections of end zone seating where all of the fans dress up in crazy costumes with skeleton faces and big spiked helmets and shoulder pads or some other monster-related Raider gear.
It’s not normal. The typical Raider fan not only doesn’t sit in the Black Hole section, but they are embarrassed by those overly excited fans who do silly things in the name of support.
I think most people’s view of Christians is the same way. Christians in their mind yield images of fake televangelists, morally bankrupt church leaders and other self-anointed Christians who have treated them poorly at some point.
One example of that is making its rounds on the internet. The atheist page on the site Reddit features a receipt from a restaurant where a person claiming to be a pastor was one of 20 people in a party. At that point, an automatic 18 percent gratuity is added to the check.
Not only did the “pastor” refuse to pay the 18 percent, he left no money at all for a tip. Instead, he allegedly wrote, “I only give God 10 percent, why would I give you 18?” and he signed the check “Pastor” whatever his name was.
I don’t even know if any of this is true or if someone just took an opportunity to make Christians look bad.
Honestly, Christians don’t need help with that. There are plenty of us running around being a bad example. As a teenager, my wife worked at a restaurant and the staff all hated working on Wednesday nights because people from a certain denomination came in after Wednesday night services and forced them to work harder than any other group of customers. Not only did they demand more than anyone else, they refused to tip the staff.
I doubt any of those waitresses ever ended up visiting that church. I know if the above scenario really happened, the waiter involved wouldn’t hang around long if he heard Pastor No Tip was bringing today’s message.
In Luke 6:31, Jesus told His followers to “Do to others as you would have them do to you.” The Apostle Paul told Christians in Romans 12:10, “Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.” In Colossians 3, Paul told people at that church, “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”
Page 2 of 2 - It seems like if someone cared enough about being a Christian that they would call themselves “Pastor” or tell the poor waiter how he gives 10 percent to God, he might have also read some other passages of the book on which his faith is based.
As Christians, we have to work harder and do more for people to make sure the people in our church’s Black Hole don’t get to determine the reputation for all of us.
Be a little nicer than you should. Be patient when others can’t. Show people what Christians are really like.
Kent Bush is the publisher of The Augusta Daily Gazette, The El Dorado Times, and The Andover American newspapers. He can be reached at:firstname.lastname@example.org.