Recently when I participated in the 48 Hour Launch competition I received a great blessing – to be hated for the sake of my savior, Jesus Christ.
Let me explain. You see, as a Christian I am typically surrounded by other Christians (at least in settings where we all know the beliefs of those around us…such as at church, a ministry meeting, or a spiritual retreat). When I go to a restaurant, a movie theater, a shopping mall, or any other public place, nobody knows what the spiritual or religious beliefs of anyone else are. So even though I might be surrounded by non-believers, I would never be subject to any kind of public repercussions to my faith.
I think it is safe to say that it is public opinion that Christians are judgmental…the way we are portrayed in the media and all the coverage about radical Kuran-burners and gay-funeral-protesters ensures that we all get lumped into one big heap of hateful people who are anti-everything-that-has-anything-to-do-with-equality-and-acceptance. Everyone outside of Christianity (and not in some crazy cult), is of course, completely rational, accepting of everyone’s belief systems, and sympathetic to everything that is unjust in our society. Think again.
At 48 Hour Launch I experienced how “accepting” people are of Christians. I watched all weekend as the 50 or so people who made up the nine other teams interacted with each other, shared conversations, and walked right by my table without a glance. I watched all weekend as the other people talked with excitement about how each of the other projects would entertain or offer a business service to the Chattanooga community, but then never once came by to find out what ChurchSurfer would offer. I watched all weekend as people kept their distance. I also watched as people who probably wanted to come talk to me didn’t because of what others in attendance might think of them.
When I finally did get to engage some people, they only wanted to offer an opinion on how limiting ChurchSurfer is. “Have you thought about incorporating other religions into the site? What about muslims or mormons? Why don’t you want to help them find a place to worship?” As I explained to people that I wanted to specifically help Christians (or people who were considering Christianity) find a church family, I received looks of disgust in return. People could not understand why it is OK for me to create a website for Christian churches only.
Newsflash: Doing something for Christianity is not the same as doing something against everything else.
If a mormon, muslim, buddhist, athiest, or any other non-believer wants to use the ChurchSurfer website to find a Christian church, I gladly encourage them to do so. If they want to create a website to find another type of church, more power to them. ChurchSurfer is only for Christian churches. It is not an attack on any other religion or person, but simply a resource for anyone looking for a Christian church in Chattanooga.
I don’t need to be accepted by those outside of Christianity. I don’t need to be accepted by everyone within Christianity. I just know that after being ostracized by almost everyone at 48 Hour Launch, I know for certain that Christians are definitely not the only judgmental group of people…it’s just fun for everyone else to accuse us of it.
I just hope that my presentation on public demo night made some people realize that.