A Tale of Two Christians

Joe

Joe is quite forthright in declaring he is a REAL Christian, i.e. has put his trust in Jesus and is following him and is taking whatever opportunity comes his way to tell others of the Good News and of being a good person, although by his own admission he is not as on fire for the Lord as he should be and knows he could / should do better. He is fairly sure of his faith and believes the Bible has all the answers. He believes church should be run on more traditional lines and should focus on preaching the gospel e.g. subjects like sin, repentance and salvation, studying the Bible and praying. He is not particularly political although he is anti-progressive in his opinions when pressed for a view and if they were still a force he might have voted UKIP or anything anti-progressive. He is decidedly in favour of Brexit, even if without a deal. If he were living in America, he would quite likely vote Trump despite his many reservations at some of Trump’s unchristian behavior. He is anti- open doors for immigrants, abortion, LGBT rights and Islam empowerment and leans to being a climate change denier. He sees religious freedom, traditional marriage and law and order to be very important. As far as activity in the community is concerned that is mostly confined to being a good neighbor and being helpful to others when he can and church related activities reaching out to the nearby community but invariably with a view to share the gospel too. He is aware of Jim and his wishy washy views and wonders if Jim really is a Christian. It will be over his dead body if he were to attend Jim’s church.

Jim

Jim also sees himself as a REAL Christian but is less in your face about what he really believes when it comes to matters of faith, some of which he is not altogether sure about anyway. He is a believer in actions speak louder than words. He is keen that church should be inclusive to all and is open to new forms of church expression, especially ones that are less preachy. He is less sure about his faith than Joe and believes the Bibles raises as many questions as it gives answers. He feels the church should focus more on social justice and making visitors feel at home. He believes many roads may lead to God and what matters more is living a good life. He is politically minded and his favoured brand is progressive. He is anti-Brexit if he gave it much thought and is of the view Trump is bad / mad. If he lived in America he would vote for those who are anti Trump. He is pro to what Joe is anti of, especially climate change. While he is not keen on abortion, he doesn’t make a big deal out of it, believing the real issues are what a baby suffers after being born into the world.  While not entirely rejecting what Joe deems to be important, he regards many of Joe’s concerns as less important than some of the injustices Joe is clearly ignoring. He is all for being active in the community, including campaigning, notably when not involving church or religion, although those looking on wouldn’t necessarily regard him as more active than Joe. He thinks Joe is a judgmental, embarrassing bigot. He wouldn’t be seen dead in Joe’s church.

The profiles of Joe and Jim are extreme caricatures of course and are a mix of several Christians I have come across over the years. I suspect that with most Christians there are varying mixtures of Joe and Jim and without wanting to sound too goody goody the aim should NOT to be like Joe or Jim but rather to be more like Jesus. Christians come in all shapes and sizes and represent many different priorities, perspectives and opinions as to how Christians ought to live. Those who know me will see me as being more like Joe than Jim although there are bits of Jim in me too. It is a shame that Joe and Jim don’t think much of each other and it would be nice if they got together over a coffee and had an honest discussion concerning their differences and at the same time recognize they are likely to agree on much too and find there is a lot of common ground.

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