Saturday, September 26, 2009


I live in Victoria, BC. Don't tell too many people, but this is really paradise.
For that reason, we are one of the stops on many Alaskan cruises during the season. This year (2009) there are supposed to be at least 215 cruise ships docked for a day, unloading something like 400,000 passengers.
Now I expect most of those passengers haven't been here before, and many won't come again. Their entire experience of the city, its people, architecture, food, culture, and tourist sites will have to occur over a period of a few brief hours.
Of course, our tourist agency will make sure these lovely people are exposed to the things we want them to see. We bill ourselves as being "more British than the British", so we will make sure they have the opportunity to ride our double-decker buses.

As well, they need to see our wonderful provincial government building. We are quite proud of this building (but perhaps not so proud of some of the decisions made therein).

As tourists, they need to visit our outdoor market on the inner harbor, where a wide variety of First Nations and other crafts are available, as well as street musicians. One of my favorite artists make some pretty awesome surreal stuff with paint spray cans, and a few small props. This is an example.

But enough of the travel ad, and back to the premise. Lots of people visit our fair city, and have a few short hours to get a feel for the place. My bet is that they get to buy a few souvenirs, eat some food, walk a few blocks around our touristy downtown core, and then leave--without ever really getting to know who we really are. And our chance is over, they are back on their cruise ship, and may never visit Victoria again.

Do you see where I am going with this? Although I expect you are getting an idea, let me spell it out for you. Lots of people have the unique and special opportunity of meeting us every day. Who knows, we might be the only Christ follower they see today. Maybe for many days.
Do they get a true picture of what a follower of Christ is? Or do they just see a facade, an act, or worse, a bad example of Jesus? We have the opportunity to live and love like Jesus, but is that what they will see? Or will they see someone mouthing off about something in the name of Jesus?
Will they see a loving reflection of this God we say we serve, or something less admirable?
We might only have that one chance to let someone know what God is like. Next time they might already be so turned off that they will only hear or see the negative expression they are expecting.

So, let the true Jesus out.


Broken follower... said...

Wow, what pressure we are under as Christians! I get your point, and I think it is fair/valid. What concerns me, is isn't it beautiful that christians can admit to being broken? Sure, we should strive to be better, but I don't think we can always "let the Jesus out". Again, something to strive for, but it kind of freaks me out that I might meet someone and give them a bad opinion about being a Christian.

Isn't that the scary part about meeting people for the first time anyway? Letting them make their judgement on you based off of one meet? Sure we should strive (that word again) to have great first impressions, but I think also we could learn that when we meet people for the first time, or know something about someone for a while doesn't mean that we can put them into a box saying "all people like this (ex Christians) are like this...

I wonder how celebrities and politicians feel, constantly being watched, especially for their flaws...

Al said...

Hey, broken! I think being honestly broken (does that make sense?) is better than being artificially whole. Perhaps that is part of what I was thinking when I wrote this. People need to see us as real human beings, not just the facade we might put on so that we look totally 'perfect'.
When I talk with people who aren't (yet) following Christ, I often hear them say things about the arrogance, the know-it-all ness that we can portray. I think they would rather see someone who admits to not having it all together yet, but knows they are being loved. Someone who is still growing, but has experienced the love of God.
I'm not trying to lay a heavy burden to 'perform'. We have too much of that already.

Broken follower... said...

Amen to that then Al! Must've read it wrong or something!

Al said...

No, I can see how you could get that message from what I wrote. But I don't want that to be the message!


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