What Are Christians Known For?


Saturday I watched a TV show I’ve never seen before called “Eli Stone.” The title character is evidently a lawyer, and somehow (sorry, I wasn’t watching closely at the beginning) he got pulled into a case involving a young woman in need of a heart transplant. The doctors had discovered a donor, another young woman who had been killed in an auto accident. Her parents, supposedly devout Christians, signed the papers, but then learned that the would-be heart recipient was an atheist and withdrew their consent.

Enter Eli Stone into the fray. He met with the parents to discuss the issue, and the wife explained the decision she and her husband had reached. The atheist was going to hell. Their daughter believed in Jesus Christ as her Savior and was going to heaven. They could not permit her heart to go to hell along with the atheist.

Say WHAT?

I have to admit, I was horrified. Is this really what the world believes about Christians? Think about all the things that we see to be true in this scenario: 1) the Christians had no concern for the lost young woman, in particular, providing her with a heart so she might one day have the veil lifted from her spiritually-blind eyes; 2) the Christians were selfish, wanting something for their daughter’s organ for the afterlife, while ignoring the needy in front of them; 3) the Christians were more concerned for their beliefs (albeit incorrectly represented) than for people.

But here’s the kicker. While the Christians were depicted as ignorant and selfish, the dying atheist was shown to be loving and sacrificial. You see, the twist in the story was that a close friend of the dead girl produced emails showing that she had denounced her faith and was actually an atheist. When the would-be heart transplant recipient learned of this, she told Eli Stone not to disclose this to the girl’s parents. They’d lost their daughter, she said, and they shouldn’t also lose their image of who she was. Even though refusing to tell would mean she herself would die.

So Eli Stone goes against the wishes of his client. When he again approaches the parents, he convinces them to change because he said, the atheist, by acting in a self-sacrificing way, was in reality as Christian as Christian could be.

YIKES! I thought. Does the world actually see Christians the way the writers of this episode of “Eli Stone” do? Are these writers purposefully distorting Christian beliefs or do they honestly think Christianity is what they portrayed?

If the latter, then where is the disconnect? How is it that we Christians are not getting the gospel out to the world?

Belief in an after life was clear. Some mumbo-jumbo about Jesus Christ as a personal Savior. And self-sacrificial love that apparently anyone can co-opt. Throw in self-interest and a disregard for the needs of others, and you have what these writers were saying about Christians.

Nothing about being sinners rescued by a True Heart Transplant. What a perfect metaphor that story could have been. Except the writers don’t know what Christians are all about.

So, shouldn’t we be telling the good news in ways the world can understand?

It’s why I write fiction.

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Published in: on July 13, 2009 at 10:14 am  Comments (15)  
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