Sjolander Road Fellowship




Declaring the God of Unconditional Love

Not so good news

4/24/11

 

I suspect that American Christians little understand how people from other cultures perceive the message of their orthodox theology. Having been raised in a society which is permeated by this theology, we have no concept of how others, outside our western influences, think and therefore react when introduced to so called Christianity.

 

To the man accustomed to a society which sanctions multiple wives, the idea that he must put part of his family out of the house in order to be a Christian sounds cruel and unjust. Why would something which has been accepted for centuries suddenly become a matter of life and death? Why would the breakup of his family be divinely ordained?

 

To the man who sees all life as sacred and therefore views nature as an object of worship, the demand that true worship is performed in a specific building at a specified time and in accordance with a certain liturgy and directed to only one being is totally foreign. In his mind, there is no way to separate the creator from the creation as an object of reverence and divine service.

 

To the man who has been conditioned by a longstanding non-Christian religious tradition, the declaration that all his predecessors (parents, grandparents, etc.) are eternally condemned because they were faithful to their religious heritage is dreadful news. Asking that man to accept that story would be a call to reject and denounce countless friends and loved ones. To consider that a reasonable expectation is clearly delusional.

 

In their own minds, Christians are the bearers of the Good News to those of other lands. We are accustomed to hearing our traditional theology extolled as glorious and loving, rightfully bearing the description of “Good News”. However, all we need to do is imagine for a moment how others without our pre-conditioning hear this message and how they would logically react to it in order to see why the story does not sound good to them.

 

Just because a story makes us feel good about ourselves does not make it a good story to the rest of the world. That is particularly so if our religious exaltation comes at the expense of everyone else. My perception may make my theology good in my eyes, but be assured that the other man’s different perception is just as real to him as mine is to me.