Bishop Dan of Nevada has been engaged in an interesting conversation on how Christians are perceived.  Here’s the lead in to his post:

THE MR ROGERS POST: WHOSE FAULT IS OUR BAD REP?

Last week, I shared this Rollie Williams link in praise of Fred Rogers on my FB page: http://www.upworthy.com/the-nicest-man-in-history-had-a-shocking-secret-you-never-knew-about?c=ufb1 The basic point was that Fred Rogers was a great guy and his shocking secret was that he was a Christian. The author said Mr. Rogers’ message was the opposite of the  “lack of love and compassion” that characterizes most of Christianity. It praised Rogers for his caring, generous spirit (my words) and for keeping his faith secret (actually, he was not at all secret about his faith. See.http://www.huffingtonpost.com/eliot-daley/fred-rogers_b_862976.html While proselytizing was not his ministry – and that could never have happened on publicly funded TV even if he had wanted to – Mr. Rogers’s religion was never a secret. He even concluded his acceptance speech for his Emmy, “May God be with you.”) I take the thrust of Rollie Williams’ post to mean that secularists should not despise all Christians because, although most of us are harsh, judgmental jerks, some Christians are ok – so long as they keep their relationship with Christ a secret.
Feeling my faith damned by faint praise, I shared the Williams link saying I was left perplexed. While Rollie Williams’ view of Christians is wrong on the facts, I still want to know how he came to think this of us.
If your interest is engaged, you can find his whole post here.
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Today is the day (September 30) on which, if were not a Sunday, we would commemorate Jerome.  He’s probably best known for his translation of the Bible (then largely available in Hebrew and Greek) into Latin.  This was really controversial at the time:  translating something holy from its original form into the vulgar language spoken by the people.  Hence it became known as the Vulgate.  Now it’s a classic translation, foundational in the Roman Catholic Church even today when they make new translations (i.e. they always seem to look at the Vulgate as well as the original Greek and Hebrew).  And I believe there are those who want to go back to (what they see as) the original vulgate version of the Bible.

I don’t think I’m exaggerating much.

Something similar has happened to us in the Episcopal Church (more…)

What we have is a story.

Yes.  It’s God’s story — even Jesus’ story.

But it’s a story without any power at all if it’s not also our story.

And it’s not that we don’t have a story.  In my experience, we all do.  We just don’t seem to recognize our own story.  And we don’t seem to want to tell it.

All of us have our reasons for being members of our particular church family.  When asked, I have yet to find one person at St. George’s who couldn’t tell me why they were here.  But almost none of them recognize their own story as a story of faith.  Which it is.

I wonder sometimes if it’s simply a (mis)perceived dualism between realms we see as “holy” and “secular” (when in fact it’s all one).  But somehow we fail to see God at work in our daily lives and work — even as we are drawn to God precisely because of our everyday life experiences.

And I’m not so much talking about the mystical here — seeing the whole of creation in a walnut or some such.  We just all seem to intuit, or experience, or whatever some kind of connections to something beyond ourselves — some kind of leading or guidance or caring …

Which I’m more and more convinced is what it’s all about.  Relationship.  Caring.  Love.

That’s our story.

That’s the difference maker.

In talking about Gregory the Illuminator (who we remember today) Sam talks about evangelism (and how we approach it) in a way I find on target and helpful.  (It reminds me of Hugh Majors saying you had to be in a relationship with someone for years before you knew them well enough to share your faith with them!)  Sam talks about how Gregory shared his faith “in the halls of authority, where he managed to convert a king.”  It wasn’t converting the king that Sam admires.  It was sharing his faith at home. (more…)

What if doing evangelism meant simply being yourself?  That’s the question they ask at the dooable evangelism site (dooableevangelism.com).  I looked it up because I’d heard it described by a colleague, and it sounded attractive and, well, dooable.  They right up ordinary actions, normal daily practices of  your life of faith.  Here’s one.  Maybe it will whet your appetite:

Half Of What’s Mine Is Yours (more…)

I had a chance to supply at All Saints Memorial Church in Sacramento Sunday, and they put my sermon up on their web page.  I preached on sharing our faith.  If you are interested, you can find the sermon here.