|Methodist Central Hall|
I think Christians are often turned off by the idea of debating, especially when the debate is about Christianity. I myself was a bit skeptical of it's proper place (if any) when I first met Kurt. Kurt's passionate about apologetics and would tell me about different debates he attended or had read. It puzzled me at first because I think as Christians we often feel we're treading on thin ice. We know we're called to witness and that in doing so it's extremely important to rightly represent Christ. This responsibility can be really intimidating! I, and I'm sure others, am often concerned that I'll offend or push away non-believers if I don't witness in just the right way. It's true that some people respond to certain types of witnessing better than others. But I've found myself trying to run an analysis on each person I meet in order to determine which type of witnessing approach I should take - direct, kind of direct, or very indirect (through example). The truth is, I often spend so much time trying to figure out how I should witness that I never actually witness (directly that is). I'm only left to wonder/hope that my example left some sort of impression.
If there's one thing I was reminded of by attending the debate, it's that people want their biggest questions directly addressed (the enormous Methodist Central Hall was completely packed). And this has been the case for thousands of years. The disciples spent a lot of time directly addressing concerns regarding Christianity and defending it (think Paul, and Luke 1:1-4). What makes that even more impressive, is that the disciples didn't have access to some of the information we have today, say the New Testament, for example. Yes, they'd seen Jesus' work with their own eyes (which I'm sure was a huge source of motivation), but we also have the completed Bible and thousands of years of historical evidence at our finger tips. Not to mention, the Holy Spirit to empower us.
Perhaps growing up in Bible-belt South had a poor effect on me in that I didn't realize the importance of being able to "give a defense" for the hope I have (1 Peter 3:15). Perhaps the world in general has become pre-occupied with tip-toeing around everyones' "raw spots." Perhaps we don't really believe there are good answers to whether or not the universe has an infinite existence or why animals die in wild fires every year. Maybe Christians are just lazy. Or are we afraid of learning; do we think we're incapable of knowing (certainly not everything can be known, but a lot can, that's how God created us)? Do we blame it on lack of time?? That'd be absurd.
These are some things I'm thinking about. I'd love to hear your thoughts as well.
I'll leave you with this fitting verse, 1 Peter 3:14-16.
But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.
Link up to my sister's Try New Adventures blog post with your adventure this week.
P.S. I gave my blog a bit of a face-lift for fall :-). What do you think?