What Are We Advertising?
I live near Pittsburgh and I am a hockey fan; I love the Pittsburgh Penguins. There are others out there who are bigger fans than I am, but I enjoy watching the game and following the scores. One of the things I have wanted for years was an authentic hockey jersey. I didn’t want one that had a player’s name on it, because if the player then I wouldn’t be able to wear the jersey and look like I knew what was going on with my favorite hockey team.
There were only two ways to overcome this dilemma. One was to get a jersey with an iconic name on the back, like Mario Lemieux. The other is to get a custom jersey with my own name on it. For my most recent wedding anniversary my wife and I went to see the Penguins and I decided on the second course, buying my own custom jersey. I wear that jersey with pride! Regardless of how well the team is doing, no one can doubt my devotion to the Penguins.
Once we attach our names to things we are saying we support and approve of all of them.
As a result of this jersey, right on my chest is a giant Penguins’ logo and my name is permanently attached to the back of this jersey. Everywhere I go, I advertise the Penguins and attach my name to them. If they do well, people will praise my good taste in hockey. If they do poorly, people will project their disgust of the Penguins on me and I have to be prepared to give a defense of my continued support of the team.
I have experienced this to be true in to other aspects of our life: the school we go to, the websites we visit, the links we post on Facebook and Twitter. Once we attach our names to those things we are saying we support and approve of all of those things. They become the things that other people use to define us. True or not, right or not, the things we advertise are the things others use to define who we are.
When we say we are a Christian we have attached our name to Christianity and to all the baggage that goes with that.
This idea applies to followers of Jesus as well. When we say we are a Christian we have attached our name to Christianity and to all the baggage that goes with that. When other Christians are doing well and living out all the good things of Christianity in the world, it can be great. People give praise and want to talk to us about it, what it means and how to be a part of the group. However, the opposite is also true. When Christians are acting foolishly and embarrassing themselves, then people around us will take out their feelings about Christians on those associated with Christianity. If we are going to say we are a Christian regardless of how other Christians are acting we have to be able to give a reason for our continued faith in Jesus even when other Christians are not acting like the Jesus they claim to follow.
Discussion Question: How do you respond when others find out you are a Christian and want to bad-mouth Christianity to you?