Welcome to Oxymoron Of The Day (OOTD). There are a combination of words that are patently contradictory, it is sometimes good to expose these for the oxymorons they are.
Privatised Faith: Is What?
I remember an incident, when I was in my early teens. A friend of the family was visiting and we talked about the fact that my family went to church. The friend got rather sniffy at the mention of going to church. His argument was that he didn’t mind what people believed, as long as they kept it to themselves. He didn’t like how some Christians talked about their faith a lot. He felt it was like they were ‘imposing’ their faith on him by talking about it. He was quite upset and offended that they would do this. He thought that those kind of things should be kept to their own kind and shouldn’t interfere with regular life. I remember listening to this friend’s views and being concerned that we had obviously offended him in this way. I hoped we, as Christians, would not look to offend, after all our faith is all about love and being kind to people, not offending them.
Later on in life I came across some Christians who actively upheld this approach to how they observed their faith. For them it was about being nice to other people and wherever possible not make any fuss about their faith. They could contentedly keep it to themselves and minimise the risk of offending others.
Privatised Faith: So What?
As you can gather, the faith I refer to specifically is the Christian faith. A faith based on sharing the good news of the Christ we are purported to follow.
History has highlighted time and time again that those who are passionate about sharing this faith can on occasion come across resistance and opposition. That is experienced because of the faith lived out in public. That’s not primarily about wearing a crucifix or having a suitable scripture as a bumper sticker on a car.
This faith affects all of life. Sure sometimes there have been times when the presentation has been a bit much and unnecessarily switched people off. Some can get excitable and that can be a bit much to take. Some want to force-feed elements to those who clearly don’t want to know. What cannot be dismissed, however, is how such wonderful news and a change from the old to the new is going to be clear in any ongoing relationship. Yet when accepting that good news, the desire to want to share it can become overwhelming. What it was never designed to be, however, was kept private.
Privatised Faith: Now What?
Following Jesus doesn’t need a fanfare, but it should also not been given the idea that you can easily keep it to yourself.
Sometimes in doing so there is such a concern that other aspects of our life comes into the sphere of the Spirit. There the compulsion to share isn’t limited. It’s not just about the convenient. This was about declaring, however we could, this wondrous story.
For His Name’s Sake
C. L. J. Dryden