I have too many Christian friends.
Not just now. This has been going on for some time now. I glance through my friends list on Facebook and realize most are church people. Only a handful of them (at least as far as I’m aware) are people who wouldn’t describe themselves as Christians. Not in the fundamental, evangelical sense—though, I’m not even that.
When did this happen? I used to have heathen friends in high school and college. Something changed when I started working for a church thirteen or so years ago. I began to become sheltered among a bastion of Christian friends and acquaintances.
I just finished the Gospel of Mark recently and in my reading I saw a Jesus, who—while he had close friends who were serious followers of … well, himself—seemed to attract all manner of sinners. Even his cousin John, known for his radical fundamentalism, had some followers infamous for their debauchery, including one Herod.
Herod was the man who stole his brother’s wife Herodias. Herod and Herodias. Strange. (We actually knew a Charles and Charlotte who went by Charlie and Charlie. Their son was also a Charlie.) John the Baptist called out the couple for their adultery, and although she held a murderous grudge against the prophet, he seemed to like John.
… for Herod respected John; and knowing that he was a good and holy man, he protected him. Herod was greatly disturbed whenever he talked with John, but even so, he liked to listen to him. —Mark 6:20 NLT
Despite that John bravely called Herod a sinner, the king still liked him. Maybe he envied John’s bachelorness and that he lived in the wilderness, instead of being shut up in a palace—suffering from a sort of royal angst like Jasmine in Aladdin.
More likely it might be that people are drawn to their Creator, and Christians carry God’s presence with us everywhere. Too often, however, we cower in our Christian bubble, safe from all of the world’s corruption. Or maybe, as in my case, we just cover our lamps, squelching the Light of the World within us, by not being proactively friendly. I don’t mean just saying “hello” or “good morning” to strangers. I mean friendly in the sense of making friends.
What does this mean for a church employee who doesn’t rub shoulders much with non-church people? It means finding places where they are and making friends, allowing God to direct my conversations. There’s a coffee place in the small town where I work that on some evenings features live music. There’s an open jazz night I’m thinking of trying out, as well as an open mic night. I should be able to make friends with musicians. I’ll let you know how it goes.
How about you? Do you have too many Christian friends? Or maybe I should rephrase that: do you have any non-Christian friends? Are you sharing the light of God’s love and truth with them?
I haven’t been, but I’m serious about Christ’s command for us to go into the world and make disciples. Would you join me? That is, if you’re a Christian. If not, would you be my friend?