I am writing from a New Zealand perspective, but I am pretty sure that what I say will apply to other "Western" nations also.
I have been extremely saddened to see the way that religion, and Christianity in particular, has been heavily criticised, ridiculed and written off as way past its sell-by date in the national press. Social media has been largely the same - I have rarely seen such an aggressive and consistent display of bigotry and hatred directed to those who sincerely seek to follow Jesus as best they can - ironic really, as the usual accusation is that we are the hate filled bigots when it comes to homosexuals!
So how do we respond - defensively, by withdrawing back into our (Church) shells? Do we go on the attack and seek to re-impose our Christian values on a largely secular nation? How does Jesus want to us to engage with the people around us?
Well here's my proposal - we need to love them into the Kingdom. We need to be salt and light, as Jesus said we would be - not arsenic and wet blankets! We need to live out love-filled lives, and then shout about the reason we do so - not because we are "good people", but because being followers of Jesus compels us to do so.
It is a great discipline, at the end of each day, to ask - what have I done today to bless my neighbours as a result of being a follower of Jesus? In doing so, we are not saying we are better than anybody else - but we are better people, and the world is a better place, because we have Jesus in our lives.
To take it further - the world needs to hear the practical ways in which our faith informs and transforms our daily lives. So if you are involved with social media - facebook or twitter, then I challenge you to publicly complete this sentence each day - "today, because I am a follower of Jesus, I..."
Imagine facebook and twitter being swamped day after day with Christians being salt and light - living it and showing it. If you understand hastags - how about #ChristiansBeingSaltandLight
2 days ago