I am reading Philip Yancey’s book ‘Vanishing Grace’ published in 2014. Philip ponders what exactly the church as to offer a broken world and asks why, to outsiders, Christians often seem to be bearers of bad, rather than good, news. As a Christian, Philip has deep concern about how we represent our faith to others. ‘We are called to proclaim good news of forgiveness and hope and yet I keep coming across evidence that many people do not hear our message as good news.’
Daniel Hill from Willow Creek Community Church, one of America’s largest churches wrote that ‘Pre Christians’ seemed open and receptive when the topic of religion came up. They had no real hostility and could imagine themselves connecting with a church one day. In contract, ‘Post Christians’ harboured bad feelings. Some carried memories of past wounds: a church split, a domineering parent, a youth pastor or Minister guilty of abuse, a relationship breakdown that the church handled badly, experience of rabid fundamentalism and judgmental, intolerant church members lashing out at unmarried couples, abortion, homosexuality, gender and cultural equality.
This divide prompts some Christians to make harsh judgments about the people they disagree with. Some Christians hide away never making attempt to take the time to really listen to others views and to engage with the realities of their faith in such a way that speaks to the world in which they live.
As Philip writes ‘Jesus granted his followers the immense privilege of dispensing God’s grace to a thirsty world. The Samaritan woman at the well conversed with Jesus, her thirst was quenched by grace and she became a dispenser of that grace to her community. Although God’s grace is as amazing as ever, in a world that is increasingly divided, it seems that grace is in vanishing supply. As one who has drunk deeply of that grace, I want to offer it to a world that is thirsty. To communicate well, I must first listen to other’s stories for clues to how they view the world and how they view people like me.’
Let us be bearers of grace and good news.