Posted by: tommybrennan | January 13, 2012

The Greatest Apologist

Our planet is filled with many worldviews.  A worldview is the lens that we see everything through.  It is the grid that we measure, compare and process information through.  It is fairly well hard-coded into our personalities, and it takes a lot to change it.  I think that we should always be open to such changes.  The reason is simple:  as I sit here typing this, I know that I do not possess all knowledge and truth.   I am aware, at least academically, that I am wrong about a great many things.  My perspective is limited.  My prejudices are a challenge to seeing truth.  My background shapes all that I am.  There is really no way around processing the events we see through our worldview.  However, we do need to consider other people’s worldview as well.  We must respect it.  We may not agree, but we need to understand that most people do not come to their worldview without some thought, experience and consideration

It is no secret to my readers that I am a Christian.  I did not come to my worldview cheaply or quickly.  I have faced misunderstanding, mockery, and malice because of my beliefs.  I am okay with this.  Jesus told me this was part of the price to follow Him.  I have however, sought to provide my detractors with a defense of my faith.  This is known as an apologetic.  An apologetic is not an apology (I am sorry I am a Christian), but rather an answer or defense for what one believes to be true.  I feel strongly that I need to be able to defend my faith against the onslaught against it.  I have made it my business to study the major religions of the world and understand their teachings.  I have researched the writings of some of the most prominent atheists of our day to know their claims and how to answer them with reason, logic, and poise.  This defense is one of the most critical needs of the Western Church.  Many or our young people are being told that Christianity is evil, foolish, and akin to believing in fairy tales.  Many have struggled with serious doubts and even cast off faith as a result.  I think this is tragic.

The purpose of this post is not to give such a defense.  Some of you have privately asked me about my faith and we have discussed it rationally and with mutual respect.  This is how I would prefer to handle such questions, rather than in a Facebook/Twitter dust up that produces more heat than light.  If you would like to talk about Jesus and what He means to me, I enjoy talking about nothing more than this.

The purpose of this is to tell you about the greatest apologist that I know.  This person continuously serves, loves and thinks of others.  This person thinks nothing of preparing a huge meal for a family in need in the space of an hour.  This person weeps earnestly when told of the suffering of others.  This person rarely complains, and seeks to make others as comfortable as possible.  These are all the makings of a great apologist.  These actions speak far more powerfully and eloquently than any philosophical argument that could be posited.  The most compelling argument for Christianity is the Love that Christians show to others.  If this love is present, belief in Christ is not only logical, but compellingly so.  When Christianity is so adorned with good works, even the most skeptical admit that the case for Christ is persuasive and beautiful  If love is absent, the whole affair is dismissed as a sham meant to fool the simple rubes who are too lazy to do their own mental homework.  As Micky Dolenz of the Monkees observed: Love is the ultimate trip.  Ahem.

The apologist I describe is none other than my beautiful wife, Julie.  I have seen her take the initiative to serve others time and time again.  She does this in secret.  Nobody is aware that she had done it.  She doesn’t seek praise for her actions.  Where I may be good at refuting the assertions of Frederick Nietzsche and Sam Harris,  she simply loves people and convinces them that God loves them through her actions.  I will share one short vignette to illustrate.  My wife’s sister Linda and her husband Bill were hoping to have a baby.  They had been married for a few years and were looking forward to starting a family.  We rejoiced when we heard that they were pregnant, and dreamed along with them about being parents.  a few months later, Julie got a phone call.  Linda had lost the baby.  The pain in Linda’s voice was heart wrenching.  The loss was devastating, and her world was coming down all around her. I am glad Julie was on the phone with Linda.  I would have comforted her with scripture and explained that they would get pregnant again. Such statements are true.  They are correct.  They are accurate.  But they would be completely inadequate for the enormity of emotion that Linda and Bill were going through.  I remember watching Julie as she heard the news.  She said nothing.  She simply sat there and began to weep with her sister.   Words could not convey what needed to be communicated.  Julie didn’t think about what to say.  She just felt her sister’s pain.   I will never in a million years be able to match such an apologetic as long as I live.  Love was displayed in all of its beauty, sensitivity and humility.  I am humbled and undone when I realize how far short I fall of real love.  But I have seen it in action, and I am a believer in the love of God.

Linda would later say that many called to comfort her, and their words were beautiful, gracious, and well-intentioned.  In that moment however, there was only one thing that could have possibly brought comfort, and that was the awareness that another person shared her pain, loss, disillusionment, and doubt.  Linda saw, but more importantly felt the Love of God in that hour.  Julie was such a person.  We are all called to show such love to not just our kin, but everyone around us.  God knows, there is no shortage of heartfelt need around us.

And by this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.

 – Jesus Christ

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Responses

  1. AWWW

  2. This is a beautiful post. So true, and how I aspire to be like your Julie. People need to feel their pain before they can move beyond it. Loving them and being with them during that time is so much more helpful than throwing dry truths at them, however well-meaning and scriptural those truths may be.

  3. This is extremely encouraging. Wonderful.

  4. oh Tommy Boy…I am blessed to be yours! I love you so and I am SO glad that you can teach me about ‘apologia’ as well!

  5. You are blessed to have such an apologist to walk through life with you Tom. Julie is a gem. It’s no wonder so many of us love her!


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