It happened three times last week.
“I didn’t know you were a Christian, Diane . . . you’re so normal.”
“I didn’t know you were religious until I friended you on Facebook.”
“OK. Now I get it. I’ve always thought you were different and now I know why.”
Not particularly stellar compliments — I don’t want to be labelled “normal,” “religious” or “different” but all three interactions led to some really awesome conversations. People have some really stereotypical thoughts on what it means to be a Christian. My recent conversations seem to be more about stepping back to undo the damage of stereotyping than stepping forward to proclaiming the Good News of Christ.
I think it’s wonderful when our Christian lives confuse people enough that they just HAVE to ask some questions.
I can across something I found a couple of years ago that was written by Frank Viola.
I’ve gone back to many times because his words speak to my heart – they are a wonderful reminder of why I am a Christian. I’m not strong at apologetics, but I know what I know . . . and I know Viola’s words to be true.
Why I am a Christian – by Frank Viola
1. Because life makes no sense to me apart from Christ. Nor does it have any purpose.
2. Because I’ve tried to not believe in Jesus, and I find that I cannot. (Perhaps this is why the early Christians were called, “believers.” We believe for reasons that we cannot naturally explain. We believe because we believe. I have certainly struggled with various doubts along the way and questioned why God does and doesn’t do certain things, but that’s a different issue.)
3. Because I’ve never seen the Gospel narratives refuted successfully. Every critique that’s sought to debunk them throughout the years has been discounted under careful scrutiny and scholarship. The Gospels have stood the test of time.
4. Because I’ve never seen the resurrection of Jesus refuted successfully. Upon careful study of all the historical date, it actually takes more faith to deny His resurrection than to believe it occurred.
5. Because it makes no sense to me that Jesus of Nazareth isn’t who He said He was – the Messiah, the Son of the living God. No human being has had nearly the kind of effect on world history as Jesus has (ie. I’m writing this post in 2012 – what does “2012” mean?) No serious historian denies that Jesus of Nazareth existed (there is more historical attestation for His existence than there is to Julius Caesar and many other ancient figures) And C.S. Lewis’ trilemma – Jesus is either a lunatic, a liar, or lord – rings true to me.
6. Because I can’t help but see the biblical narrative of Creation, Fall, and Redemption echoed in every play, every work of art, every human story, every drama, every movie and the news I read every day. The Christian story is deeply embedded in the soundtrack of human history and art.
7. Because every time I meet a true believer of Jesus for the first time, I feel like I’ve known him or her all my life.
8. Because Jesus is the most compelling, intriguing, awe-inspiring and amazing person I know of who is worthy of the greatest admiration, obedience, love and (uniquely) worship. To my mind, truth, justice and beauty are all grounded in Him, and His story (as told in the Gospels) trumps every other story known to humanity.
9. Because I’ve never seen any religion or philosophy deliver people from a life of carnality and bondage to addictions. In my experience and observation at least, Jesus transforms people’s lives greater than anything else on the face of the earth.
10. Because I have a deep and unshakable belief that the Lord Jesus Christ is with me and taking care of me . . . and has all of my life. I cannot imagine life without Christ.
11. Because there is no rational explanation for some of the prayers that I ( and others I know) have seen answered “in Jesus’ name.”
12. Because I don’t weep easily, but I readily cry whenever I detect the fingerprints of my Lord or behold His handiwork.