Have you ever been around someone who is constantly talking about God, Jesus, their faith, the Bible, etc.? I mean, even when it has little to do with the conversation at hand, they find a way to interject something religious? I know I’m taking a risk by even bringing this up — there’s a lot of room for misunderstanding — but I’ve been thinking about this for some time now and after reading a friend’s blog post today, I felt inclined to go ahead and just share my thoughts.
There are some people, like my dear grandmother who passed away last fall, whose faith is larger than they are and it just seems natural to hear them speak of it as a matter of course. It doesn’t feel forced or as if there is an underlying motive but simply as expression of who they are. I’ve encountered a very small handful of people who fit this description.
On the other hand, there are many, many more who pepper their speech with frequent religious references which come across as either insincere (a few) or as if they are trying too hard (many). It feels as though they are trying to convince themselves and others of their religious greatness. I do try not to make that judgment but I’m human and fairly perceptive so I have to admit that I do sometimes wonder why these folks feel the need to do this. Do they have something to prove? Something to hide?
Several months ago I read the following quote by Donald Miller:
“I’ve also found that the more I trust in Christ’s redemption to be sufficient, the less overtly religious I am. And, quite honestly, the more suspect overtly religious people become to me. When I’m with somebody who talks zealously about faith, about Jesus, about the Bible, after a while, I find myself wondering whether or not their faith is strong at all.”
I found myself nodding in agreement and relieved to find that someone else, someone I respect, was articulating my feelings on the subject. I do know that personality plays a role. I’m an introvert and sometimes a bit shy. I’ve never been comfortable praying out loud, for instance. I’ve never made a secret of the fact that I’m a Christian but I’ve also never felt the need to blatantly advertise the fact, announcing it to anyone and everyone.
Take my blog, for instance. If you read for a length of time you will see casual references to my church and faith. I mention Advent, Christmas, Lent and Easter as naturally as I write of the changing of the seasons each year. I’ve shared pictures of our church and a poem I wrote about it. I wrote about it when my grandmother died. My faith is an integral part of who I am and anyone who knows me, or reads my writings, will see that over time. And if they don’t? Well, I’m of the opinion that if my life doesn’t reflect my faith then announcing it on the sidebar of my blog, frequently quoting scripture, plastering Jesus bumper stickers on my car, etc. are meaningless acts.