First of all, let me just say I’m following apostolic counsel in this post. A number of years ago, Elder Eyring told a story about walking home from church with his dad. Young Hal had been bored in Sacrament Meeting, and his dad thought the meeting was great. Then Dad explained to Young Hal that if he listened to a talk that wasn’t up to snuff, he’d simply imagine how he would have given the talk instead, and he’d get more out of the meeting.
This past Sunday, we did the GAS Lesson #3. It was fast Sunday, but we have Ward Conference next week, so our group leadership decided to do the GAS lesson as their “presidency” lesson.
In our group, the discussion quickly descended into a “Why don’t they think we are Christians?” session. To me, that was a lost opportunity.
It was telling to me that the word Christian did not appear in the GAS lesson material. There were plenty of references to the Savior, but none to that particular label. And that, to me, was a signal of where the discussion could go (instead of where it actually went).
I understand the desire to complain a bit about the treatment we get from “the world,” especially here in the mission field. I understand that some of that talk may be inevitable, especially in an environment with a prominent Mormon presidential candidate drawing fire from evangelical Christians and sometimes candidates who appeal to them. And it was interesting to hear of personal experiences people in our group had confronting the issue with their friends and associates. (Our HPGL told of his wife’s experience: she participates in a Bible study at a local protestant church. On one particular week, another woman kept insisting that the HPGL’s wife did not believe in Christ. Finally the protestant woman was so upset that she left, and the HPGL’s wife stayed at the Bible study.)
I was glad that another member of the group mentioned our opportunity to demonstrate our faith in Christ by the way we lead our lives. (His question: If you were accused of being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?)
It reminded me of a post from blogger Middle-Aged Mormon Man in which he puts a great perspective on the question of the label of Christian. You can find it here. (Go ahead, click on the link!)
I would have preferred spending more time affirming our faith in Christ and discussing how we could show it, rather than defending our faith in Christ to an opposition that was not even present.