It's not often that I feel I have to stand on a podium in a secular enviroment, complete with megaphone and declare in ringing tones "I am an unashamed evangelical Christian and I feel a little bit persecuted here!", the latter part of the sentence being of course, because I am English and I am therefore a bit nervous about mentioning that I feel persecuted!
But Sir Elton John's comments the other week did make me feel, well not so much persecuted, but rather annoyed (and that's because his comments on religion seemed contradictory and generalised. Just as it is wrong to generalise gays, I think it is wrong to generalise Christians). The persecuted bit is because it is another sign that I feel that if I and others of my ilk declare that we are Christians, there is the fear that this simple statement will translate in some people's minds as "I am a bigot, a fascist, and I will treat you as evangelism fodder and proceeed to spout Biblical chapter and verse at every given oppurtunity!" , because, strange as it may seem, most of us are normal human beings. We sleep, we wake, we sometimes swear (well some of us), support a football team with almost slavish devotion, enjoy having sex (well apart from those of us who are celibate for one reason or another obviously!), and those of us who are conservative minded when it comes to morals (and most of us are different); well a lot of us do happily vote Labour in the UK, Democrat in the US, Socialist in France etc.. (obviously each to their own country or else I have unwittingly unleashed a massive act of electoral fraud!) . Plus some of us have a suspicion that, when it comes to Democracy, God is not politically partisan!
Not all of us are swift to condemn, not all of us refuse to accept people as they are. For example I am not impressed by promiscuity, but, being human, I understand it and refuse to sit in judgement and finger point at those who are! And to break stereotypes even further, two friends of mine are a lesbian couple who are devout, and one of whom thinks that my sense of humour is a bit too liberal for her liking!
Put simply, evangelical and conservative Christians are varied, just like everyone else! What unites us is that we believe, are unashamed to believe and happily share what we believe for the simple reason that we believe that Christ died for our sins and rose again! And why do I write all this and feel embarrassed to do so! Well it is simply because I am a tad tired at all the sweeping statements that get made about Christians, esp those who are catholic and those who are evangelical, or even both! Strange as it may seem, fundamentalists like Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, and Richard Dawkins ( ;) ) get up our nostrils as well! But then it's okay for the rest of you, we have to forgive them, not least because we are called to, not least because we all need forgiving!