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3 Bumps

A thought...

I'm reading a book - Go + Do - which has so far (I'm on page 70) been an interesting read. I just came across a part in the book where the author is talking about an experience of his from a visit to Bangladesh where he realized, in the middle of a conversation with Muslim Bengalis, that he and his companions may be the only Americans or Christians those he's talking with may ever meet, and he speaks of the great responsibility he realized, being the sole representative of their country and faith.

This made me stop to think... What if we were the only example or representative (he also uses the word "ambassador") one might be exposed to? Would our behavior reflect our religions in a way that recognizes the responsibility we hold, as representatives, regardless of whether we believe we are the only ones? Does the idea that we are only one of many somehow cause that responsibility to be taken less seriously when representing our faiths or beliefs? Shouldn't we *want* to represent ourselves, our faiths, etc, as well as we can, in every situation? Or are there ways to determine when it really "counts" and when it doesn't?

It kind of makes me think of that quote... "You may be the only Bible some people will ever read"

Do you take the time to consider how you're representing your religion, when engaging with others? Is it something that your religion/church teaches *should* be considered? Or is it something of little importance individually and/or as a collective group of followers (for lack of a better term)?

Answer Question
 
bandgeek521

Asked by bandgeek521 at 7:36 PM on Apr. 30, 2012 in Religion & Beliefs

Level 46 (241,143 Credits)
Answers (14)
  • Bandgeek,that is something I have thought a lot of lately. In my job, I work with people in recovery from lives of addiction and as I hear their stories I am often hit with the realization that their encounter with me may be a small portion of what you just described. So much of the life I have taken for granted, growing up with an awareness of God's love and the ability to choose a path with Him, is totally foreign to many of the people who come into my office. I dont often think I am representing my religion per se, but I often struggle that I am representing God's love for them and my human failings sometimes make me fall very very short!!! They come to my office so wounded, beat down, ready to give up...
    Nimue930

    Answer by Nimue930 at 7:51 PM on Apr. 30, 2012

  • That is my philosophy so yes as a matter of fact I do.
    I also believe that I maybe the only smile or word of encouragement that someone sees or hears all day.
    Dardenella

    Answer by Dardenella at 7:41 PM on Apr. 30, 2012

  • I think it is of the utmost importance. I could not call myself a medical doctor if I am not licensed and practicing medicine. I could not claim to be a vegetarian if I eat meat. I couldn't say I was an Olympic athlete if I have never competed in the Olympics. So how can I declare a faith that I am not actively living out?
    theMOMmission

    Answer by theMOMmission at 7:44 PM on Apr. 30, 2012

  • Thanks, Bandgeek, it is meaningful but your post describes my thoughts pretty well... its a responsibility Ive welcomed because I feel its the right thing to do but somedays its a repsonsibility that feels like a burden on days I just want to slack off....
    Nimue930

    Answer by Nimue930 at 8:08 PM on Apr. 30, 2012

  • Yes.  I'm not religious, but I think it's important to not hide that fact even though I live in a community where the majority of people claim a strong attachment to their churches.  Because atheism has such a bad reputation, I've been reluctant to share the fact that I count myself in that group, but then I realized that it's because I'm atheist and because atheists are perceived in such a negative way that I shouldn't hide that part of myself.  I'm a good, caring, hard-working person who loves others, cares for the earth, and strives to set a good example for my children.  The other atheists I know are also very wonderful people who do such great things for our community.  I don't feel any shame for not believing in any gods, and I know that it doesn't take a belief in a god or in gods to be a good person, so I do feel a responsibility to be more open about myself.

    jsbenkert

    Answer by jsbenkert at 10:25 PM on Apr. 30, 2012

  • You are always your own ambassador no matter what you do.

    Farrahann

    Answer by Farrahann at 7:47 PM on Apr. 30, 2012

  • I try to be very aware of how I treat people. I want them to sense that there is something different about me, even if they don't know I am a Christian. We all have opportunities every day to treat people well or badly. Do we push our way through a crowd instead of waiting patiently for a break in the "traffic"? Do we act impatiently with people in traffic? Do we say please and thank you? There is a song by Casting Crowns called "Jesus, friend of sinners". It says basically that there is a world at the end of our pointing fingers, "the world is on its way to You but it's tripping over me", and that people know only what we're against and not what we are for.

    I also try to have a sense for whether a person is open to talking about faith or not. I don't think that many souls are led to Christ by "giving them an earful" or whacking them over the head with a Bible.
    Iamgr8teful

    Answer by Iamgr8teful at 11:46 PM on Apr. 30, 2012

  • Wonderful post. I think it is very important.
    Mom2ArLn

    Answer by Mom2ArLn at 8:42 AM on May. 1, 2012

  • I don't strive to be a good Pagan. I strive to be a good person. My theological opinion tends to encourage the latter, but there are plenty of theological opinions that make for some pretty awful people if you aren't in their "in" group. I could care less about who you pray to, how you pray, how often you pray, where you go to pray, or what you wear or read when you go there...I care how you talk to the homeless guy on the street, and whether or not you litter out your car window.

    And there are plenty of "good ________s" that fail that test.
    thalassa

    Answer by thalassa at 10:28 AM on May. 1, 2012

  • I believe it does matter. I was raised in Christian family household and the way you act shows other people what you are about. I have been surrounded by Christians my whole life an I can say there are only a very select few that act the way I was taught in church when I was a child.
    I am not a Christian, I am Wiccan and everything that I say and do I think about before I do or say something because I believe in the 3 fold law and I do not want to harm anyone either physically or mentally or to their beliefs, but growing up I have realized that some Christians push their religion on someone so hard and then turn around and do the exact opposite and make the person they are witnessing to turn away from that religion, so yes I believe it does matter
    meliscool72

    Answer by meliscool72 at 8:03 AM on May. 16, 2012

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