I’ll admit it – I love a good teen drama series. Recently, I was watching some episodes of Gossip Girl in which the manipulative and selfish Georgina Sparks becomes saved at a Christian Camp. When her friends finally see her again after a few months at camp, she seems to have become a whole new person. Yes, she says she is in love with Jesus and asks for forgiveness from all of those whom she’s hurt (which is awesome!), but the person she becomes is such a stereotypical Christian – it made me think about some lies that the world believes about Christians, and that Christians believe about themselves.
Christians are naïve.
When Georgina’s friends find her at a Christian Camp, she is overly giddy and out of touch with reality. She is very sweet, yet she doesn’t seem to be able to stand her ground and is easily manipulated. Jesus was aware and intelligent; he studied the scriptures determinedly, and he was insightful and wise. Christians are not naïve. We have access to the Father, and we have the ability to live wisely by listening to the Lord and acting on what we’ve heard.
Christians are isolated.
All of the Christians I’ve seen on Gossip Girl live together at the camp. While it’s clear that the camp is not the only place that Christians would live, the isolation of the Christians in the show made me realize just how exclusive and isolated Christians can be. Jesus didn’t confine himself to a commune of believers who didn’t interact with the world. He partied and became friends with all different kinds of people; he made people’s lives better by hanging out with them in their contexts. People enjoyed hanging out with him. Being a Christian means more than just being around other Christians – it means experiencing the world and allowing the world to experience Jesus, through us.
Christians always have an ulterior motive.
In one episode, to embarrass Georgina, Blair (one of the main characters) invites all of the Christians from Georgina’s past to a party that Georgina is throwing for the freshmen in college. The Christians all walk in singing a song about Jesus and playing tambourines. Blair says, “This is a conversion party! I can’t believe it! Georgina threw this party and invited all her friends here to convert the vulnerable freshmen!” To be honest, this made me laugh out loud. I don’t think “conversion parties” are a thing, but if they are, I can’t imagine they’re very effective. Of course I want my friends to know the freedom, love, and peace that comes from knowing Jesus. But that’s not the only reason I want to be friends with them! I want to be friends because I like them and they’re fun to be around. We celebrate together, encourage each other, and cry together. I’d love if one day they all understand how much Jesus loves them! But I hope everyone I meet knows that I’m not going to throw a party or ask them to coffee just so that by the end of the night they become a Christian.
Christians don’t have fun.
At Georgina’s party, Blair says, “I never knew a Jesus freak could throw such a good party…” Well, if you’re a Christian and you don’t party or laugh, you’re not living into the abundant life of Christ! Jesus celebrated! He found reasons to bless others and eat meals with people. He turned water into wine to continue the celebration of marriage. As Christians, are we asking ourselves how we can regularly celebrate and enjoy life?
Christians are boring.
Following Jesus means living a life of adventure! The first Christians did not know the meaning of the word boring – they were imprisoned, saw people rise from the dead, survived shipwrecks, and fled from death multiple times. There are so many more Christians today who live courageously and adventurously – racing across oceans to raise money, building schools, smuggling Bibles into countries where they’re forbidden, traveling around the world caring for people, risking their lives to stand up for righteousness, justice, and mercy. As Christians, I pray that we do not live into the lie that our lives are destined for boredom; if we do, we are robbing ourselves of the fullness of life that God has called us into.
*I also want to note that our lives will not always look like a never-ending action movie. There will be times when we step out into adventure, but there are other times when we will need to find the adventure in everyday life, honoring the season of live in which we’ve been placed.
Christians are weak.
At one point, after being manipulated by her friends, Georgina decides that the only way to fix the situation is by taking matters into her own hands. She presumably can’t be a Christian and be strong and powerful at the same time. But Christ was not and is not weak. He has the ultimate strength, and he endured unimaginable torture for the sake of the world. His people are STRONG. POWERFUL. FEIRCE. The power of the King of kings resides within them, a lion ready to tear apart injustice and evil. They are not afraid, for they know the creator of the world stands beside them. The early Christians witnessed the murders of their best friends, endured beatings, were torn from their families, and stood up for what they believed in (often) at the price of their lives. Today, Christians all over the world stand strong – choosing love and hope in the midst of pain and suffering, refusing to deny Jesus even when facing torture and death, and sacrificing all they have for their children. Across the ages, Christians have endured with strength and power. To say that Christians are weak is a horrific insult to those who have lived their lives on the front lines, fighting for love in the name of Jesus.
I pray that we do not believe the lies surrounding the stereotypes of Christians. May our lives reflect the goodness and truth and fun that comes from living a life with Jesus.