When asked about his taste in music, Ray Charles was once quoted as saying,
"There's only two kinds of music, those kinds being good and bad"
and that's a statement to which I wholeheartedly agree!
I'm not a big fan of most Christian music, sadly, like so many endeavors which are labeled as "Christian" it seems as though the quality of the products produced are lower than those of their secular counterparts. When people talk about books, music, movies or whatever which are produced by Christians inevitably you'll hear their work patronized with statement's such as
"It was pretty good, for a Christian writer,musician,comedian,etc..."
As if there's an unspoken but well understood lower standard involved.
And that's messed up...
I consider myself to be a fairly typical person, but then again perhaps I'm just caught up in my own "delusions of adequacy." I think perhaps a case could be made either way regarding me, but I digress. When I meet people I hope they notice something different about me, I would hope that they would perhaps feel loved in some way! I don't wear a crucifix outside of my shirt for people to see or have a WWJD wrist bracelet on. If I've never met you before, I probably won't ask you where you attend church within the first ten minutes of a conversation. Some people stress about sharing the gospel or "witnessing" as it's called, but sometimes the most "Christ-like" thing we can do is just to listen to people.
When people meet me I don't want them to see a stereotype, I want them to meet the real me.
I am a Christian, but I'm not "Ned Flanders"...(nothing against Ned)
I think that Jesus was a very real person!
Not only in a physical sense but also in terms of how He related to people out of a genuine love for them.
Throughout the bible Jesus' personality is displayed in many ways. Some of my favorite examples are from His various confrontation's with the scribes and pharisee's. This one in particular speaks to me of His sense of humor in dealing with them.
For whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and walk?
Jesus perceives their thoughts accusing Him of blasphemy after His forgiveness of sins. I can imagine Him being somewhat confounded by their attitudes, but His reaction is to love and teach them. He begins by turning the question back on them by asking "whether is easier" which is actually rhetorical in that He knows they can't truthfully say or do either. Jesus seems to be seeking counsel from these great scholars of the law while simultaneously proving Himself to be God and them to be fools!
Jesus, you crack me up!
Another of the more prevalent stereotypes of Christian people has to do with the idea that all of them are pacifists. The perception is of them being people who would never raise their voice in anger or resort to violence under any circumstances. It doesn't say in John's gospel what if anything might of happened to Jesus that day as He traveled to Jerusalem to observe the passover but apparently,
"He was in no mood"
to discover what was going on in the temple that day...
14And found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting:
15And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers' money, and overthrew the tables;
During his lifetime here on earth Jesus was a real man with real feelings just like each of us! He had a sense of humor, He could feel pain and sorrow, He could even become angry! It's a comfort to me to know that being a Christian doesn't mean we should be always happy or always be serious and sad like the stereotypes portray. I just want to be the person God intended me to be, no more and certainly no less! Helping people do just that is something Jesus was very good at, He brought comfort to the afflicted, and affliction to the comforted!
I think that it's so important for Christian people to be "real", and to not be perceived as being out of touch with the very real struggles that people they might meet are going through. Jesus had great compassion for people who were stuck in the "miry clay" of sin. He understood the temptation's of this world and the depravity of mans soul that drives him to do something, even if it's wrong, to fill that void in his heart. He didn't judge people for having the need which I feel is a critical first step that's necessary for people to be comfortable enough with us and to trust us enough to actually confide in us about the sin and spiritual needs in their lives so that we might have a "real" opportunity to share the real Jesus with them!