Ask anyone on the street: What do you think about God? What do you think about Jesus? What do you think about Spirituality?
Then ask them: What do you think about Christians? The Church? Christianity?
I’ll bet we’d find that people – from all walks of life, religious and irreligious (with the exception of Bill Maher, perhaps) – have a positive reaction to God, immensely respect Jesus, even practice some sort of Spirituality.
But Christian changes everything. Descriptives emerge: bigotted, intolerant, homophobic, subculture, controlling, hate.
How in the world did we change the world to the point that the world likes Jesus (at least in their limited understanding, but like him nonetheless they do) but can’t stand His followers? Certainly there are wrong perceptions, but the fact remains that perceptions shape people’s realities. And as Christians, we’ve given more than enough fodder for people’s negative perceptions to become reality.
The question for us is not necessarily how to change their perceptions, but how to change how we shape those perceptions.
In other words, regardless of what narrow (and I mean this positively, not negatively) beliefs we have, how can we communicate love to our world.
More importantly, how can we communicate God’s love to God’s world.
Because as much as people may like Jesus…
…Jesus likes them more.