I was out walking the dog just before the lockdown and met two lovely people walking their spaniel, and as Bonkers tore about with their dog in a wild game of rough and tumble chase, our conversation touched the subject of my role as a pastor and, inevitably to my faith, hence the question “You’re not one of those “happy clappy” Christians are you?”
I wanted to ask “why? Do you prefer the dull, miserable type?”, but chose to let the comment slide by, so I responded “absolutely! It’s hands down for coffee in my church!”
His response? “I don’t like those happy clappy churches!”
It transpired that the man who asked the question has only been to church twice in the last 7 years, and on both occasions it was to a Christmas Carol service.
But the comment did set me thinking ….
Making a judgement, especially a value judgement based on assumption and hearsay, or listening to media propaganda is certainly unwise and I would go so far as to say it’s downright foolish. I’ve been watching the media, and people’s posts, comments and blogs recently and have read and heard some really shocking statements about what people think and say about each other and it seems especially that Christians (and what they perceived to be like) are targets of some really vitriolic rhetoric.
Often they are badly misinformed and sweeping generalisations.
On many occasions, people making comments and accusations about Christians have little or no experiential experience of real people in real churches, and even if they do have some experience, making a statement that “all Christians” are like this or that is as prejudiced making a blanket statement about anyone who is part of any category, be it a racial one (all blacks are …), based on gender (all women are …), or even sexual preference (all gays are ….).
In a modern, enlightened “tolerant” society, I would suggest that it is important not to believe everything you read or hear in the media about people, regardless of whether it is posited on social media or even the broadcast media.
It is wise to understand that whatever one person is like, and however well you know them, they are certain NOT to represent the opinions or attitudes of the entire gamut of the people they appear to represent.
I have been shocked and saddened by some of the things people have said to and about each other with little or no evidence.
And in any case, what kind of people prefer a dull, miserable church to a “happy clappy” one?