There was once I time I disliked strawberries. Actually, dislike is not a strong enough word, better to say loathed. The texture on the surface looked odd to me. What other fruit-like food has its seeds on the outside? At least with an apple you can avoid them, tucked into the core as they are. And the consistency of them. I imagined that biting into a strawberry would be rather like biting into the back end of a rather large spider. No wonder people dip them in chocolate as I cannot imagine any other way to get a spider down. But now that I am older I like strawberries. You might guess when it is that I started to like them, especially if you are a mum or a dad. Yes, I started to like them when I actually tried one. I won’t put a date on when that was out of embarrassment for being so silly for so long. But yes, turns out Mum was right, they are good.
And as it turns out, my greatest problems with the strawberry were not the seeds on the outside, nor the consistency. My greatest problems with the strawberry were my own misconceptions. I really had no idea what they were all about. This happens more than we know with Canadians and Jesus. A great too many people choose their faith and world-view (or sometimes fall into it without much conscious choosing) based on misconceptions. Somewhere along the way they have heard that Christians believe this, that, or the other thing, and with this, that, or the other thing not seeming reasonable in any way, they reject Christianity altogether. Baby Jesus gets thrown out with the bath water.
One does not need to go far to find the misconceptions. That when we die, we will sprout wings and learn to play harp is one. I’ve heard it pointed out that having had a good look around space thanks to modern technology, no one has been able to find God “up there” where we expected him to be. I’ve heard of a mortician who would say to his students during an autopsy, “I can’t find the soul.” And on it goes. Heaven, hell, ethics, history, and on it goes into the myriad of misconceptions as to what Christianity is about or what Christians believe. I read a book by an author who, not being friendly to the classic doctrines of the Christian faith, took the time to convince me that many of the things I do not believe are not true. Strange, but true. Personally I could not make the connection as to why, this or that being untrue, I should give up my faith in Jesus. Far better to keep disbelieving the misconceptions.
We tend to think that all Canadians have heard the gospel, that they have had the opportunity to make an informed choice on whether their world-view will be Christian or not. And so the activity of evangelism takes a back seat to the activity of lament. I tend to think that there are a great many Canadians who have neither accepted nor rejected Jesus. After all, they have not come close enough to Jesus to actually know who it is they are to accept or reject. But they have for now rejected Christianity, or rather what they think Christianity is all about. As Christians we can be encouraged that a good many people we assume are closed to the gospel of Jesus may not be, they may just be riding along with the misconceptions and would be happy to consider Jesus if someone would just help them. They’ve looked at, studied, assumed and imagined, but never tried the strawberry. As the Bible points out “Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him” (Psalm 34:8a NIV)