Monday, December 29, 2003

Evangelical or Not? 

We visited some friends while away for Christmas. They invited us, my husband and I and our children, to swim with them at their relatives’ house near where we were staying. After swimming, the kids went off and did their own thing while the adults went about carrying on conversation. I was struck by something that was said during our conversation.

We were talking about videos and DVDs that we enjoyed, and the subject of “The Simpsons” was raised. We reminisced about classic episodes, the evolution of characters, and missing the voice of Phil Hartman as Troy McClure. Then our friend Paula (fictitious name) said something which made me think long and hard. She said that she had stopped watching the show after they killed Maude Flanders. Certainly, we could all agree that the story lines were strange around the time they did that; however, she made a point of saying how she didn’t like that they had so many bad things happen to poor Ned. She said he was a strange kind of evangelical Christian, a really nice guy. She said it would have been more appropriate to have bad things happen to a hypocritical Christian, like most of them are.

I was thinking to myself, does she know that I am an evangelical Christian? What have I done or not done to make her think otherwise? I can’t claim to be “evangelical” if even my friends don’t realize that I am evangelical. I was startled and embarrassed. Was I the only “evangelical” in her life? My guess is that I am not. I am willing to wager a lot that she has many friends and acquaintances who are very nice people that she does not know as evangelical Christians but who are.

I am still thinking about what she said many days after it was said. God meant for it to light a fire in me. I need to be more obvious about my faith. I need to share more with my friends than just safe and standard conversation. I don’t want to come across as the hypocrite that she thinks most evangelicals are. I’d like to get others in her life to share their faith and maintain an image of being nice, too. Who knows, maybe we could change that opinion that she holds. Maybe we could change her heart as well.

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