by guest contributor Mark Hundley, Messiah member and North Campus attender.
For most of my life, being a churchgoing Christian was held in high regard. Today, not so much. What’s happened?
For the most part, the mainstream media shapes today’s public opinion, and there’s not much doubt that it has not been kind to churchgoing Christians over the past several years.
The Bad News
Bad news, tragedy, scandal, and other negative and inflammatory things are what sells today. That’s what we’re fed by the mainstream media because that’s what sells. Truth be told, there’s been no shortage of that type of story as available fodder for the media.
We can read about church scandals, ultra conservative exclusionary practices, homophobia, and no room allowed for wondering or questioning about the churches dogma. It’s likely that many of these stories are true.
Taken together, it paints a pretty bad picture of churchgoing Christians.
The truth is that this type of stereotyping doesn’t hold up under closer examination. Isn’t that really true for almost all stereotyping? “XYZ” doesn't have rhythm, “XYZ” are gifted athletically, “XYZ” are all lazy, “XYZ” are conservative, “XYZ” are liberal — and so it goes. Obviously that doesn’t work.
It doesn’t work to describe churchgoing Christians either. Not all churches and not all Christians fit today’s media created vision. I am thankful for that. Because I am a churchgoing Christian and that created vision doesn’t describe me. I’m also thankful that there are so many Christians out there doing so many great things in this world!
The Good News
I see many of these great things happening in my church. I see many compassionate, intelligent, thinking people in my church every Sunday. People who are open, accepting, wondering, questioning, and doing their best while being supported by the other people in our church.
I see how we contribute over 100,000 pounds of food to our local food bank every year. I see how we host a free breakfast for high schoolers every week. I’m excited by our ministry initiative to make sure that no child within a mile of our church is lacking anything they need to learn at school.
I have spent the past couple of years fighting some fairly major health issues. The support that I have received from the people in my church has been amazing. I don’t know how I could have gotten through it all without that support.
No, the people in my church don’t fit well in the negative image painted by the media. I’m so glad they don’t.
I hope you’ll come and visit us soon and take the opportunity to form your own opinion and your own vision of what churchgoing Christians are really like. Are we really like the media portrays us?
We aren’t all like that. . . Really!