My Cynical Smile
This past Tuesday night I attended a book club which Beth's leads at the Panera Bread in Kernersville. They meet the second Tuesday of each month. This was the first time I have been able to go to so I wasn't sure what to expect.
The place was packed from the get go. Very few tables were available and the ones that were empty were spread all across the place. This particular Panera has a meeting room for groups like ours that seats about 25 people. It was "reserved" for a group of ladies that couldn't have been much more than eight in number. But that's another story. There also was a weekly chess club meeting and after witnessing us wonder around trying to figure out where to sit, they graciously offered to move since they had far less people then us.
After sitting down we were greeted by a lady who introduced herself as a small group leader from a new church plant in High Point. She was supposed to be leading a bible study there but no one had shown up yet. She had marked off several tables (seating for 8-10 people) in a back corner. Much to her dismay, we tightly squeezed in next to her. Our group outnumbered her 10-0.
As she kept getting up and down, walking past us as she searched the restaurant for possible bible study attendees, I noticed her getting more and more aggravated with the situation. Finally she snapped. She grab her coat and books and yelled angrily at us, "We could have her seats because she was going home". It was quite a scene. We all sat in stunned silence. Maybe she was mad no one showed up for her bible study or maybe she was angry that we were making it an inconvenience for her to keep squeezing by us. Whatever the case may have been, I sat with a cynical smile on my face. I thought, "With Christians like her, no wonder people hate us".
On the heals of that experience, I just finished reading an amazing book. Besides an occasional Donald Miller or Andy Stanley book, I really haven't found any good Christian writings lately that I'd recommend to anyone. But this is a must read. It's called "The Unexpected Journey: Conversations with People Who Turned from Other Beliefs to Jesus" by Thom Rainer. The book details 13 individuals that turned to Christianity after being heavily involved in other beliefs (Mormonism, Buddhism, Jehovah Witness, etc). A reoccurring theme in each of the stories was the fact that they were attracted to Jesus after seeing "Christ like love" exhibited from a Christian. Now before you Christians out there start patting yourself on the back, they all said it was years before they met a "real" Christ-like Christian. Most "Christians" they met were just like that small group leader in Panera - angry, bitter, cold, hateful, and showing anything but the example of love and caring that Jesus modeled for us.
How many people day after day do we as "Christians" turn away from Christ? When are we going to wake up and realize that the world is watching? It's sad to think we push more people away from Jesus then we lead to Him.