James’s Blog: “Hello?”

Once upon a time a well-known author and speaker came and spoke at a Christian Union event. The speaker would say something profound, and then end his sentence with something like “Amen?” or “Hello?”. It was obvious that he wanted some kind of response, something like “Preach it brother!” or “Hallelujah!”. Unfortunately we were the wrong audience. We were a mostly white, mostly middle-to-upper class group of mostly students, some of whom came from fairly conservative church backgrounds. All the speaker got from us was silence. Not one to take defeat lying down, he persevered in an attempt to mould us into his own image. Eventually we got the message that we weren’t fulfilling our end of the social contract, so some of us played along a little bit, but you could tell that our hearts weren’t in it. It was serious business to him though, and after one of his little pearls of wisdom was met with unsatisfactory enthusiasm he said, “Not many believers here tonight, are there?”. What did he mean? That you weren’t a Christian if you didn’t vocally agree with him? I was not impressed with this encounter. The whole experience just left me cold. I wonder if he knows how arrogant he came across that evening?

I’m not sure that he would care. He didn’t strike me as someone who was particularly approachable or open to what anyone else thought. He just struck me as arrogant. Arrogant and humourless.

I have a saying: Never trust a Christian who can’t laugh at himself.

Amen?

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