I caught the end of Johnny Vegas's Guide to..... Evangelical Christianity last night as I was in bed and I found it quite fascinating. Johnny Vegas went to America to experience the Evangelical church there. He discusses the faith he had in his youth and how when he was younger he had planned to go into the priesthood.
Two things he said in closing struck me, not so much in the fact I didn't realise it, but more in the way that the church in general doesn't realise it. Please note it's not a quote word for word as it was late and I was tired but it's the general gist of of what he said.
1. He said that he loved what they (they being the Christians he had met on his journey) had, however he wasn't envious enough of it to go and make a step of commitment to Christ.
I'm really not sure what to make of it. We have such a great faith and a great God on our side, which should be making people "envious" and make them want that for themselves, however I feel that the church in general doesn't express itself or show that it has a living faith as opposed to a dead irrelevant faith that has nothing to offer. It's like Sunday morning in church when we sing about how much we love God and are thankful for what He has done, but at the same time we have a sad depressed face on us. I'm not saying I'm perfect at this myself, but it's definitely something we all need to work on - we need ot be more excited about our faith and excited about what it has to offer other people.
Looking back to my post on If you can catch them at that age you keep them and reflecting on what Johnny Vegas said, I still don't believe it's our purpose to entertain and attract people to Christ, but to allow Him to work through us to draw people to him.
I heard someone say recently (can't remember where but have a feeling it might have been summer school) that we are to allow God's light to shine through us without us distorting that light.... however the only person who did that perfectly was Jesus, the point is we have to let Him shine through us and work through us.
2. He also said he wasn't sure how he could have faith back home in England compared to what he expressed in the states
It's true though isn't it? How often have you been on a retreat or a trip where it was so much easier to express your faith and talk about what you believe because you're in a "bubble" and that's the way life is there, but the real test comes when you are in the real world and living out that faith. Generally when it comes to the real world we are left on our own to deal with it. Community is vital to our growth socially, emotionally, developmentally, personally and spiritually. I'm glad that churches are Christian communities, but how often does that community only exist on a Sunday? When it comes to the nitty gritty of everyday life do you find your Christian community encouraging you, supporting you and building you up - and vice versa! If not I encourage you to build that community in your church.
I'll be praying for Johnny as he continues to explore his spirituality, that he will find his way back to faith in Christ and that he will find Christians who can help him to grow in his faith too.