I don’t think it’s any secret that Christians these days have a PR problem. That’s why one of my questions I ask each person in my Off the Record interviews is about whether we should find a new word to describe ourselves. The word Christian is tainted for many people.
Now consider another tainted word: vulture. Odds are high you imagine a repulsive, scary creature you’d prefer to avoid. But consider the following story in this video.
Pretty amazing how easy this video, and the article that explains it, challenges a strongly established preconception. I believe the transition happens when we change our view from an offensive creature to a creature with needs like everyone else (and vulnerable like everyone else). When we are able to see what they contribute instead of what they threaten. Here are a couple of the quotes that stood out to me:
“While vultures are one of the most revolting birds and rarely revered in any culture, they are absolutely necessary in our circle of life. Without vultures, the rotting meat contaminates land and water and as a result, Nepal has an increased number of rabid dogs and rats (when the vultures donâ€™t eat the dead animal, the dogs and rats do).”
“Thank you for helping me, and hopefully others, see the beauty in this beast.”
The same is true of Christians today. When we are seen on the offensive, blazing through anyone who has the audacity to challenge us, we elicit dislike, even hate, from the culture around us. I can see some of my readers preparing a comment now that goes something like this: “but Jeremy, while this sounds cute it fails to acknowledge that Jesus offended people. So much so that they killed Him for it.” That’s true. But Jesus offended religious people who thought they knew it all and had the inside scoop on God. Those were the people who ordered His death.
The problem for most Christians today is they offend people who are already far from God while appeasing the religious among us.
It’s time to change our PR for Christians. It’s time for us to embrace vulnerability. It’s time for us to acknowledge that though we believe we’ve found truth, we still have doubts. Only then can we create anÂ opportunityÂ for our culture to begin to see Christians as something of intrigue rather than disdain. For the culture to see what Christians want to bring instead of what we want to threaten. There’s a reason the Gospel was called Good News.
If a guy can do it for vultures in Nepal, I think we’ve got a chance.