This quotation has really caught my fancy recently as a good summary of the way conservative Christians are viewed by the surrounding culture in Western nations:
Believers aren’t weird because we’re wicked. We’re weird because we’re inexplicable; because, when there’s no necessity for it that anyone sensible can see, we’ve committed ourselves to a set of awkward and absurd attitudes which obtrude, which stick out against the background of modern life, and not in some important or respect-worthy or principled way either; more in the way that some particularly styleless piece of dressing does, which makes the onlooker wince and look away and wonder if some degree of cerebral deficiency is involved. Believers are people with pudding-bowl haircuts, wearing anoraks in August, and chunky-knit sweaters the color of vomit. Or, to pull it back from the metaphor of clothing to the bits of behavior that the judgment is really based on, believers are people who try to insert Jee-zus into conversations at parties; who put themselves down, with writhings of unease, for perfectly normal human behavior.
I hope to write more about the odd and insightful and maddening book from which this comes. Don’t buy it yet, okay? Just wait till I tell you what to do. =)
I quoted this (with slight adjustments for the audience) in a series of three messages I recently preached on Creation, Fall, Redemption on Vancouver Island in Canada.