Yes, People Actually Do That

Living as an evangelical Christian

Not quite

I told my physical therapist that I’d be out for a few weeks because I was going to Alaska. Hearing a bit of news like that always makes people think “cruise”; which would be fine if the team of us was actually going on a cruise. So I told my PT what I tell other people; that we’re going on a service trip. Then I told them that the service was teaching teens at a native-Alaskan bible conference. And they paused to digest that last detail.

People who are Christians can make sense of bible teaching as a service project. People who are not are apt to offer a blank expression that says something like: People actually do that?

“Evangelical” is a term that describes a brand of Christian. Christianity Today offers a definition based on 4 statements (requires a subscription to read entire article):

• The Bible is the highest authority for what I believe.
• It is very important for me personally to encourage non-Christians to trust Jesus Christ as their Savior.
• Jesus Christ’s death on the cross is the only sacrifice that could remove the penalty of my sin.
• Only those who trust in Jesus Christ alone as their Savior receive God’s free gift of eternal salvation.

As someone who calls himself evangelical, I subscribe to all 4; which can make me seem like a peculiar character to some people. Part of the reason is that they assume someone who believes those things must behave like the kind of preacher that they might have heard using a microphone while standing on something like a literal soapbox on a street corner. Nope, that’s not me. But my absence of like behavior doesn’t change my belief.

Personally, I wish that all people who have strong convictions would be more “evangelical” about it. Vegetarian? Preach it. Liberal? Teach it. Evangelical? Talk it. Knitter? Live it.

Of course, in order to function in society, do it in a way that doesn’t alienate other people. People aren’t apt to be eager to listen if you’re militant.

So that’s what I do. As people have gotten to know me, they see me preach, teach, talk, and live what I believe. And sometimes they can be surprised by the way that all looks.

Photo credit: “Cruise ship.” Kathy Domboski, 2011. CC BY-NC 2.0

[2022’06’29’W: Added] More posts about Faith and Native Alaska (which mostly means the same things, at least as of this writing.)



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