“It is in our lives and not our words that our religion must be read.” (Jefferson) – a recent post on the Jack’s Winning Words blog.
In addition to being one of the founding fathers of our country, Thomas Jefferson was quite a philosopher. His views on religion were focused around how you lived your life as a Christian example, rather than how loudly you might proclaim your faith. We could us more of that thinking in politics today, where loud and vociferous claims of being an evangelical seem to be the order of the day.
Many, and I count myself among this group, are what I would call quiet Christians – those who try to live a life based upon Christian principals rather than making public displays or showy verbal proclamations of faith in order to prove their bona fides. I quietly do my part at church, volunteering for leadership positions or just volunteering where needed, without having to thump my chest and say, “Hey, look at me: I’m a Christian; I’m evangelical.” I work within my community for many good causes, without making a big deal that these are religious acts. They’re not; they’re acts that I am driven to do based upon the teachings of my faith to serve others.
I’m pretty sure that I haven’t seen anything in the teaching of the Bible that would lead me to exclude people or discriminate against them, just because they are not like me or they chose a different lifestyle. In fact, many of the stories that become fodder for Sunday sermons are those about Jesus reaching out to those who were different or who may have even been despised in the community in those times, whether they were lepers or women of ill repute or tax collectors. I suspect that He would have difficulty with many of the “holier than thou” attitudes that drive modern day words and actions of the so-called evangelicals directed against those with different appearances, opinions or lifestyles.
I think Jefferson was right. At the end of the day and at the end of life, the measure of one’s life will not be taken in the words that they have loudly professed; but, rather, in the style in which they lived their life. A life well lived in service to others and acceptance of the teachings of Christ will hold up better to the final scrutiny that one devoted to loud proclamations of evangelism while acting in bigoted and hateful ways. So, don’t yell about your faith; let that faith shine through in the way that you live your life.