Thanks to Beth for directing me to a new place:
From a reflection "The Thunk, the Gap, and the Six A's"
The Rev. Mark Sargent is pastor of Embry Hills United Methodist Church, Atlanta, GA.
If striking up conversations with strangers who don't go to church is too much for you, but if you want to learn something about the reputation that we Christians don't enjoy, then you could just watch the comedy routines of people like Kathy Griffin and Bill Maher and the late George Carlin, three of my favorite theologians, by the way. You'll have to forgive them their unvarnished language, but you can certainly learn a lot about what many people in the world think about us by checking them out. If that's too much, then stay home and order movies like "Jesus Camp" and "Religilous" and see why we have such a lousy reputation in many places and among many people.
It is a sad thing, because we know that there is a brand of Christianity that is better than the widely-practiced, widely-publicized brand of Christianity that is ethnocentric, anti-scientific, homophobic, imperialistic, defensive, condemning, rejecting, and afraid. We know that a different Christianity exists. We know that there are followers of Jesus who are open-minded, well-educated, and accepting. We know that there are followers of Jesus who are spiritually mature, intellectually honest and psychologically savvy. We know that there are followers of Jesus who guard against unfair stereotypes and who attempt to check their ungenerous judgments and who work to eliminate prejudice in their own minds and wherever else they see it.
But there are hosts of people outside of Christianity who do not know that, because people who practice Christian spirituality with spirits and brains and souls fully engaged have sadly become the Christian minority. And when many people think of "Christian" or "church," they often do so with pejorative overtones because the Christianity that is most widely-practiced and mostly widely-publicized is the brand of Christianity that smacks of religious fundamentalism and adheres to the impossible agenda of Biblical inerrancy.
Read it all here