2 Thessalonians 1:3 We must always give thanks to God for you, brothers and sisters, as is right, because your faith is growing abundantly, and your love of one another is increasing. 4 Therefore we ourselves boast of you among the churches of God for your steadfastness and faith during all your persecutions and the afflictions that you are enduring.
Christians suffering from persecution was not unusual in the ancient world, as v. 4 above indicates. Christians were considered strange for many reasons – believing in only one God, consuming the “body and blood” of their Messiah, believing their Messiah was glorified by hanging on a cross, and more.
Christians are strange.
I’ve been watching a show on Netflix called “Sons of Anarchy”. It’s a show about a motorcycle gang in a fictitious town in Northern California. Nothing particularly edifying about it, just some “junk food” adult television to consume.
What I find interesting is how Christians are portrayed on the show. For the most part, they are not loving people at all but a bunch of haters. They are angry and hypocritical – professing belief in one thing, but doing another. They don’t really think for themselves, but follow their leaders like so many blind sheep.
This sort of portrayal is nothing new, of course, but it feeds a stereotype of Christians for the growing number of people in America who have little first-hand contact with an actual church. This is the message often portrayed in secular media:
Christians are strange – and not in a good way.
I wonder what the people in the community in which I live think of the church I lead – if they think of it at all? What impressions do we make as Christian believers in our town? Are we “strange” or are we like everyone else? And if we are strange, are we strange in a way that gives glory to God or that feeds the secular stereotype?
What about you? What about your church? Are you… strange?
Lord, give us grace to be strange… in a good way. Amen.