how christians are viewed

I find myself often relflecting on how Christians are viewed by the world.

I was born into a United Methodist pastor’s family and have not known any other world view. But during worship experiences, I often step away in my mind and try to view it as if I were a visitor. More often than not, I am disappointed!

We speak a language not everyone understands. I have spent the last several years seeking the kind of words & actions that will connect with my generation.

In my church history reading this week, I came across this passage by a Roman historian in the 1st century, Tacitus. (There was a huge fire in Rome in A.D. 64 that burned for over a week. Ten of the fourteen sections of the city were destroyed. There were rumors that the king, Nero, was dancing in his palace because he was so glad the city was burning down. People were getting quite angry with him so he realized he needed to blame someone. Two of the areas that didn’t burn were home to the Jews & Christians…)

“…Therefore, in order to destroy this rumor, Nero blamed the Christians, who are hated for their abominations, and punished them with refined cruelty…Thus, first those who confessed [that they were Christians] were arrested, and on the basis of their testimony a great number were condemned, although not so much for the fire itself as for their hatred of humankind.”

The author claims this as one of our earliest examples of how people viewed Christians.

The Christians did not hate humankind. However, they must have looked like it! Authors in the second century explain most of the social activities were very entwined with pagan worship (the theatre, army, letters, sports, etc.). So Christians were abstaining from those activities…

So to Tacitus and other Romans who loved their culture…the Christians definitely looked like they hated humankind.

I wonder what ways Christians look like they despise culture today… (even if their intentions are good…looks can be deceiving)..

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