“Why not keep it to yourself, Neil? Why do you ‘have to’ share your faith in Jesus Christ?” Straight shooter Scott McK’ is one of the most honest blokes I know, too honest at times. Cycling an ‘Ayrshire Alps’ loop (Crosshill, Galloway Forest, returning via Straiton).
With clip-on mics I interviewed Scott for Di’GidNews Podcast as we wheeled up and down hills. As well as testimonies to the life transforming love of God, we’re keen to ‘see ourselves as others see us’ and get help from people of ‘no faith’ or ‘other faith’ to improve our connecting and communicating the Good News of Jesus with neighbours, family, friends, colleagues, and anyone who’s interested.
Scott was frank about the hypocrisy in some Christians which pushed him further from Christian faith, while also appreciating helpful caring values and physical pursuits which he took from Boys Brigade days. His big question for me was, “Why can’t you keep faith to yourself?”
Where would we be if Louis & Marie Pasteur had kept quiet about discovering the principles of vaccination and pasteurisation, or if Sir Alexander Fleming hadn’t shared the world’s first broadly effective antibiotic of ‘penicillin’. Scott is disturbed and exercised about homelessness and poverty in Scotland, and the World, and recognises that addressing such inequalities are within our reach as humans, but tragically humanity is not concerted enough in our determination to eradicate such inequities.
Where would our world be without Jesus Christ? Rightly Scott pointed to the divisiveness of religions and the reason for much hatred and violence. Christians can be inspirational, like Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King Jnr & Desmond Tutu, but tragically the Crusades, Apartheid, and Roman Catholic / Protestant persecutions, affirm Scott’s cynicism about religion’s rotten role in the world. Scott cited times when religion was used by authorities to keep the masses at bay and in line. But all these arguments give me even more incentive to share the Good News of Jesus Christ and help people experience the unconditional love that God really has for us, a love that that Scott recognises in his own family’s life and living.
Scott is aware of a Judgement Day in Christian teaching and reckons if, against his own better judgement, he faces God as his Judge, he has a ‘Get out of jail’ card up his sleeve and will appeal to Christ’s Grace, Mercy & Forgiveness. It’s all a bit of ‘chess game’ for Scott. But back to that question, “Why share my faith in Christ?” I have lots of biblical reasons but the main one is that I believe The Life of Love, Hope, and Purpose which God offers us, through faith in Jesus Christ, is the best design and trajectory for living now, and forever. More than salvation from death and separation from God, God’s Love is for driving out fear and freeing us to live adventurously and well. After our recording Scott admitted to an inkling that, when we die, there is a part of us (‘soul’ if you like) which continues.
Yesterday we had full immersion Baptisms at Irvine Beach. This included Lewis, a 21 year old, who shared his faith story. At 19 his mental health was rock bottom. Ready to chuck life in, he heard God tell him not to give up, but to trust in Jesus. Lewis started praying and finding the help he needed. His pit became the platform for his ability to share the love and hope he has in Christ. He can’t keep quiet about it. For sure, this intimate, personal relationship with God thing is better caught than taught, better felt than telt! As Jesus said of those shouting his praises, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.” And as the old hymn puts it,
‘My life flows on in endless song; Above earth’s lamentation,
I catch the sweet, tho’ far-off hymn That hails a new creation;
Thro’ all the tumult and the strife I hear the music ringing;
It finds an echo in my soul—How can I keep from singing?’