By Denton Josey, Page Editor
Sometimes you just want to speak for yourself.
Sometimes other people do it for you anyway.
America gets a lot of bad press. The rest of the world hears a lot about America (usually a lot more than we do about them) and what they hear isn’t all the good stuff.
The American government stays pretty busy in other countries and sometimes that makes people mad. American business is also very prevalent in other countries and a lot of times this gives other countries the wrong impression of us. Without the privedge of living here, people can’t always see the good and the bad in America like we can.
Instead, people often see America as what it exports. Mickey Mouse, Wal-Mart and Coca Cola have made it to every corner of the world already, so by the time real Americans get there we already have an undeserved reputation. Sometimes people dislike us before we even meet them.
Despite all of the misnomers people still want to come to America. How can people dislike America so much but still want to come here?
Despite America’s flaws, it still offers a lot of wonderful things like freedom and opportunity that aren’t as available in other places. Maybe not everyone needs to live in America or live like Americans do. But because there is a lot of freedom and opportunity it is understandable why some people would like to be here.
The same is true with Christianity. A lot of people don’t like Christianity, but they want the things that Jesus gives, like freedom and opportunity, love and life. This is also understandable. When we get lazy as Americans and let our government or our businesses be the only images people know of us, it’s no wonder they don’t know the truth; when we get lazy as Christians and let the T-shirts and bumper stickers represent Jesus, well, we can’t blame people for not wanting to find their way to church.
Here’s where America and Christianity are a little different. Not everyone needs to like America. But when we are content with the sad and untrue PR that is put out, when we don’t try to engage people and show them who Jesus really is, much more is lost and both parties miss out on beautiful life experiences.
There’s a quote that says, “the world is a book and those who don’t travel read only a page.” That is similar to a deeper truth.
We don’t know all of Jesus if we don’t do all the things he does and asks. It is more than just obeying the things we aren’t supposed to do, it is obeying and doing the things he asked us to do, like share him with people. If not, we miss out on knowing a part of Jesus that only comes from going to new places (non-Christian stores, etc.), from meeting people that think differently.
I’d not be so bold as to tell someone they need to go to a certain church thrice weekly and get a leather-bound Bible from Zondervan. But I would be bold enough to say they need Jesus, in the same sense that I am positive everyone needs air to breathe and food to eat, maybe even the occassional hug.
This is why it is crucial that we travel, to let people witness the truth and share some love. So people can realize not all Americans are the Bush Administration. We aren’t iPods and McDonald’s; there is more music in America than rap. So they can realize Jesus followers do more than boycott places and judge people. We aren’t really supposed to be as exclusive as we tend to be. Jesus is more to us than Christian merchandise.
The government doesn’t always do a bad job representing America. The church often does a great job of doing what Jesus did. But it is far more rewarding to speak for yourself.