7.22.2004

Tithing

Hey, I'm on an advisory board for a company that is starting up from among a group of Christian men who want to do business and serve the Lord with their profession.  It has been really fun to have to figure out what that actually means on a substantive level. So we have been talking about tithing and the difference between what the principle of tithing is to an individual and family, versus a corporate entity like a business.  John and E, have you had to deal with issues of business giving as Christians?  How have you approached it?  Do you call it tithing/ giving with similar principles/ nothing to do with each other at all?  Do you guys do charity less predictably from a percentage of after expenses profit, or do you budget giving more predictably from a flat expense of total revenue?  What is your business' relation with Asia's Hope?  Is it formal or informal?  Do you consider it taxable write-offs or tax-exempt expenses?  What difference have you found between the two?  

27 Comments:

Blogger e said...

grrrrr...christian clients...grrrrrrrrrr

7/23/2004 8:02 AM  
Blogger brad said...

Is it "grrrr... Christian clients"? or "grrrr... immature people in general"?

7/23/2004 10:54 AM  
Blogger John McCollum said...

Uh, it's Christian clients.

But there's so much here, it's more suited to dialogue than blogging. I'd be happy to iChat or phoneChat with you.

Erik has my contact info.

7/23/2004 11:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just had to comment on this. I don't know any of you and just happened to get to this blog via Megan C. I am a CPA and whenever I hear we have a "christian" client I want to tell them to go somewhere else. It seems they always are the ones that don't pay or constantly complain about fees and in general leave a bad taste in the mouth. The firm owner is not a believer and I try to be a good christian example, but all it takes is some of these "christian" clients to screw everything up. I am so leery of hiring a business to do work for me if they are "selling" their christianity because it seems to backfire more often then not. On the other hand we do have christian clients, but I only know that because of their attitudes, business practices, and charitable donations made and not because they are out there making a statement. Sorry about the ranting. This is something that really concerns me about christians in business. We don't need to be out there telling people that we are christians, we need to be living it out. They should be able to notice we are different by our actions.
Duane Yoder

7/23/2004 12:17 PM  
Blogger Jeff Cannell said...

Dueane Yoder reads blogs- - - how cool is that- Your wife was the best wedding cooedinator at VCC period!

You should visit us all at emlement sometime!

7/24/2004 8:45 PM  
Blogger e said...

What Duane said.
Man, that's such a much better summary than any I could have come up with about why "christian" businesses are suspect 99% of the time in my book.
Duane, thanks for the comment and feel free to continue!

7/26/2004 8:01 AM  
Blogger brad said...

Wow! This is really important, I think; we are talking about superficial versus lifestyle Christianity here. I, like I assume all of us here, want to be discerning in how we are able to respond to God's norms in all contexts, not just a Sunday affair with God.

So, I want to make sure we are becoming encouragers in this and not just saying that on the surface, "people who vocalize their Christian faith in business are bad business people."

Are we saying that these "bad businessman" Christians are superficial because they have seemingly developed a "rights-based" attitude, like a career welfare recipient, who learns the magic words and expects to get a break??

When I was waiting tables full-time (in another life), I remember we used to joke about how Sunday morning was the worst time to work because church people would come and eat the same as every other day, but leave half the tips. The general idea quickly degrades into thinking, "Christian = Cheap".

But look at how superficial that is! If a group of people misrepresent to me the richness of the Kingdom of God, am I, in ANY context, then to use their superficiality as the basis for how I am rich for them? If I begin by saying that "good clients" dis-integrate their ability to bring their primary identity to bear on their profession, then that is what I am doing.

(Wow, this is beginning to sound "preachy"...) Let me just clarify for the record here that I know you guys to be well integrated Christian businessmen. I hope to emulate some of what I gleaned in the short time I was with E in whatever we in Chicago undertake in this business formed amidst Christian leadership.

But back to the topic of "grrr... Christian businessmen" and Duane's sadly poignant observations, if we are interacting with people who's words predetermine a high expectation that then the substance of their actions does not live up to, then I would think it our responsibility as leaders in the Body of Christ to help reconcile the gap.

So we have to do something; what have you guys done already? Off the top of my head, could we have a small pamphlet that we give to our brothers that helps them see their actions in our light? A sort of "hey, this is the experience a lot of Christian businesses portray; we have high expectations in wanting to work with brothers; meet us where we are as we are meeting you?" type deal?? ...A "Christian contract" over and above the business contract? Ironically, is there room for us to "give them a tract before they give us one"? It's easy to say this should just be assumed, but what can we do?

7/26/2004 10:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks Jeff and Erik. Jeff my wife thanks you too for the compliment. She really enjoyed doing the wedding thing at VCC, but after we adopted the kiddos it was too much. I am usually just a "lurker" on the blog, but if something gets me riled up I will probably respond. I am not sure how much I can offer being an ex-mennonite, old, stodgy, conservative accountant. I tend to see things in black and white with not as much insight into the gray areas that most of the bloggers have.
Duane Yoder

7/26/2004 10:50 AM  
Blogger John McCollum said...

Brad--

I think that there a a number of factors that contribute to my aversion to working with people who would consider themselves 'Christian Businessmen.'

1) The Amway Effect

I've met many people who have never had to work really hard or possess any real talent for their given profession. Their built-in network provides them all the security they need.

Most people who don't belong to a country club or church (sometimes they're basically the same thing, right?) don't have more than a few 'natural' contacts that they'd exploit when starting a business or cultivating a client list.

Most people have to work really hard or be really good at their jobs to create a network of potential customers with personal loyalty.

So, many people who AREN'T good, or smart, or talented, or hard working see the church, or the country club or the 'networking' societies as a goldmine: A group of people who are favorably disposed to buy your product or service -- just because you're a member of their group.

7/27/2004 7:51 AM  
Blogger John McCollum said...

And for 'Christians' with this mindset, the gold mine runs even deeper: These people are supposed to automatically give me their TRUST, something people would normally have to work really hard to earn -- just because I'm a Christian.

2) The Incest Effect

I can't tell anyone that Uncle Fred raped me. It would make family gatherings a little awkward, and might lower our family's esteem in the eyes of outsiders. 'Nuff said.

3) The Faith Card

I actually had a potential client who had (metaphorically, of course) one hand on my wallet and the other in the front of my pants say to me (as the metaphorical sound of his belt buckle hitting the floor behind me resonated in my ears), "John, I'm a little disappointed in you. I don't think we can really do business together, unless you're willing to be a little less legalistic -- I was hoping we could have more of a 'New Testament' type of relationship."

"Oh," said I, "You mean one without a contract that requires you to pay me if I do the work you're asking for?"

"Well," said he, "It's not like I'm trying to (zzzzzzzzziiipppp) screw you or anything. I just thought that, since we're 'brothers' and all, we could build our relationship on trust, rather than on suspicion."

:/

4) The CDI

As in, the Christian Debt Index. At one time, my CDI was up to $35,000. At that time, I was billing an average of $19,000 per month. So 35k hurt like a bizotch. As a matter of fact, I could have gone out of business. Instead, I went into personal credit card debt, because I believe the Bible teaches that I'm not permitted to sue another Christian. I'll beg and plead, but I won't sue.

One of the clients who owed me a large sum of money once said, "John, I thought we were friends here, when did it all become about money?"

I tried that with my mortgage lender once. Didn't work.

7/27/2004 8:04 AM  
Blogger John McCollum said...

Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not saying that there aren't Christians who are great at what they do, and are completely honest, living out their faith in the marketplace.

I just think that there are many posing as 'good Christians' because it's the most profitable position for them to take. I also think that many Christians with good intentions are lured into greed and dishonesty because that's the example they see in the church and in the Christian Blue Pages (because, of course, you should only buy milk from a Christian cow).

My general rule of thumb:

w = the number of Christian plaques, tzotchkes, doodads displayed on person's premises, brochures, cards or website (includes inspirational posters, fishes, fishes eating other fishes, and in some cases American flags)

x = the number of times a person mentions they're a Christian or Christian business in the context of trying to get your money

y = the number of positive comments I've received about said company by non-Christian business associates

z = the number of feet I'd trust the said Christian businessman farther than I could pick up his docker-covered ass and chuck him

If w+x > y, then subtract (w+x) from y to calculate z.










(caveat: I suck at math. So if the above equation makes no sense, don't blame me. Blame my Christian school education.)


:-)

7/27/2004 8:14 AM  
Blogger brad said...

Dude, that is really funny, John. You're a good writer. :)

7/27/2004 11:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

LMAO (Laugh my ass off) John, I couldn't have said it any better. I agree with your points exactly. I really like your math equation.
BTW - if you ever need a good chrisitan CPA my number is .... Just kidding :)
Duane Yoder

7/27/2004 11:49 AM  
Blogger brad said...

John, in reading all this and understanding it to be a valid experience, I have to return to the consequent question: So, what do we do with this?

The answer too often presented is cynicism: throw up your hands, call it "the way it is" and redefine the Church by sin instead of bringing the privilege of the Church to bear on sin. Even if you're not saying this (which I'd assume you're not) to most people I think of, that's what your comments would communicate.

How do we as Christian leaders edify this scary guy you wrote about in your post with our business relationship? Before that, how do we edify in ANY relationship? If that scary person you described as "The Christian Businessman" was your wife on a manipulative night in your marriage relationship, perhaps doing something that you hated about past girlfriends? How would you respond?

7/27/2004 11:54 AM  
Blogger brad said...

In fact, what if you wrote up a tongue-in-cheeck/ serious version of your exact last post as a hand-out with business contract stuff to give to these "w + x" Christian businesses?

7/27/2004 11:58 AM  
Blogger John McCollum said...

Brad,

I'm not sure I can imagine writing a special pamphlet to hand out to Christian businessmen. I'd rather just ask them to abide by the same contracts and standards I use with everyone else.

"With such a man do not even eat." That's the position I take when it comes to someone who has demonstrated himself to be greedy or idolotrous. I guess I'd rather spend my time demonstrating my faith by working with non-believers anyway. Which puts me at odds with the scores of people who believe that we should patronize Christian businesses to help 'feed the flock.'

As far as your original post 'serving the Lord with (our) profession' is something we take very seriously. Part of that is demonstrated by our work ethic. We work hard, and we do good work. We charge a fair price. We pay our bills. But we also don't live for work. Most of the time, we leave by five to spend time with our families.

As an employer, I rarely (if ever) turn someone down when they request time off or a raise. I try to not pull rank. I work hard to not view my position as 'boss' as an excuse to treat people like they're in any way beneath me.

We also donate to ministries personally and as a company with cash and services rendered. I donate our space to people who want to use it. I purchase extra drinks and comfy furniture so everyone -- my clients, their family, my friends, my pastor -- enjoys spending time. I take time when people stop in to make them feel welcome and to talk about life.

Most importantly (I think), I view my business, my skills, my time and my money as belonging to God. I don't live a lavish lifestyle, at least by American standards. I try to not cultivate an insatiable desire for more stuff. I am basically content with my current level of success and prosperity.

All of these things are more important than marketing myself based on my Christianity, and may, in some cases, preclude it.

I dunno. To be honest, I just try to live my whole life with integrity, and to not use the cross for financial gain. And I resent people who appear to see the way of Christ as a path to riches.

Which doesn't mean that I don't solicit work from other Christians. But when I do, I don't play the faith card, and I don't expect any special preference.

7/27/2004 3:49 PM  
Blogger John McCollum said...

Brad,

BTW, I'm not sure I understand your ex-girlfriend example. Could you help me out here?

7/27/2004 3:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

John, your comments are right on. It is great to know that I am not alone in my thinking about using the faith to further business contacts. BTW - what is your business? It sounds like you have a great environment to work in.
My wife and I adopted two kids from Kazakhstan a few years ago and sometimes we were questioned about not using a christian agency. We felt that kids coming from a christian agency were most likely going to go to a christian home so why not try to adopt a kid through a non-christian agency and hopefully add additional lives to the kingdom providing we do our jobs as parents. There were many other reasons besides that to use our agency, but that is another story.
I feel the same way about the workplace. If we can be a witness to the non-believer just by providing good service, fair price and using the golden rule it will do more good for the kingdom then trying to do business with other christians and having to deal with the various issues that go with that.
BTW - thanks for letting me comment on your blog.
Duane Yoder

7/27/2004 7:59 PM  
Blogger John McCollum said...

Duane--

We do graphic design, marketing and communications consulting. http://www.elementville.com

We have one son from Vietnam, one from Korea, and a little girl coming someday from China.

I'd love to meet you someday.

7/28/2004 7:54 AM  
Blogger e said...

Duane,
You're always welcome to comment on any post. It seems you and John have a lot in common....

Perhaps you should start a Christian Businessmen with Adopted Kids from Asia Support Group.

7/28/2004 9:01 AM  
Blogger brad said...

John, thanks for all the insight, man. It sounds like you are very intentional and very fair in serving your employees and business partners.

You said,
"With such a man do not even eat." That's the position I take when it comes to someone who has demonstrated himself to be greedy or idolotrous. I guess I'd rather spend my time demonstrating my faith by working with non-believers anyway. Which puts me at odds with the scores of people who believe that we should patronize Christian businesses to help 'feed the flock.'

To me, this is the whole point, though, man. Why would you rather spend your time with non-believers than with believers? You've obviously got a heart for discipleship. Evangelism is just pre-discipleship discipleship. I know you to be bold in your presentation of the Christian life, just like you present your business; but in communicating on this blog at least, your making a preference for non-believers over believers which (forgive me if I'm sounding more harsh than I mean) doesn't seem to be coming from a call to discipleship through business, but seems to be coming from a "giving up" on those who use the name Christian in business. My question is, What is driving this preference? It seems like more than just "bad business".

I agree with you that Christianity is a lifestyle of worship, not a business product or a political slogan. So, what an opportunity for discipleship with those who are waiting to be challenged. And to me anyway, if anything, I would have imagined the opposite about you with your "With such a man do not even eat" comment. You seem to me blessed to be able to stand with people where they are, particularly in their greed and idolatry. That's why you're a discipler and that's why you're an evangelist.

7/28/2004 12:18 PM  
Blogger John McCollum said...

Brad--

Paul's "With such a man do not even eat" admonition was specifically referring to Christians. That's why he added "Now, if I was talking about non-believers, you'd have to leave the world. I'm talking about those who call themselves brothers."

So, it was Paul's distinction, not mine. I'm simply trying to live it out at work.

7/28/2004 1:06 PM  
Blogger John McCollum said...

1 Corinthians 5:11, in case you were wondering.

7/28/2004 2:15 PM  
Blogger brad said...

So, help me understand this, John. I think it's pivotal.

1 Corinthians 5 is the "expel the immoral brother" passage looking specifically at brotherly relations in the local congregations of Corinth. But as any and every local congregation is a manifestation of the greather Church of Christ, then it must apply beyond simply local congregations. And as our profession is part of our lifestyle, which we as Christians seek to live more and more fully for Christ, then in some way it must also apply to our dealings as brothers within the world of our professions. What are some ways that it may apply differently in a professional setting than it can in a local church setting?

As I look at 1 Corinthians 5, Paul is writing in verse 11, "But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with any who claim to be fellow believers but are sexually immoral or greedy, idolaters or slanders, drunkards, or swindlers. With such a person do not even eat." Pretty harsh stuff.

So where is God in all this?

This passage as a church discipline passage (as I've come to see it, use it, and see it used) is at all times to be used in light of Jesus' teaching on discipline, especially Matthew 18.

Matthew 18 outlines a picture of dealing with sin in the Church. It is a four-point outline: 1) Go and point out the fault, just between the two of you alone. If there is no repentence, then 2) take one or two others along so that the matter is established among Christian witnesses. If there is still no repentence, then 3) go before the assembly (bring the complaint to their whole business (?). And if there is still no repentence then, 4) expel the immoral brother.

Most important in this whole exercise, however is the verse that follows Matt. 18:15-20. Peter begins questioning Jesus in verse 21, "How many times shall I forgive someone who sins against me?" The context of all discipline (Heb. 12) is love. Among brothers most especially we are empowered to love because it is Christ who condemns and we can enter a common grace-space with each other to seek His direction.

This exercise of expelling the immoral brother is ALWAYS an act of love and done in the context of perhaps a one-sided repentence that would welcome them back into the fold (businesss) of the church at any time they are willing to concede to God's will in it. It is a process of loving that is ideally done case by case as an act of discipleship. As Paul says later in 1 Corinthians 6, ~ Don't live by the principles of the world in a sort of philosophical or practical hedonism, but strive to live as you are in Christ, "washed, sanctified, and justified by the Spirit of our God."

Am I an idealist? That's not the point. By coming to you on the terms of being a Christian business, these guys are inviting you to use Scripture in your dealings with them, and little to do they know, you are a gifted discipler with an obvious pain at seeing hypocrisy in the church.

Hypocrisy, even as Jesus condemns it in Matthew 23, is all about perormance. In fact, I read somewhere that the Greek word for hypocrisy is "performance". A hypocrite is an actor who can stand on the stage of life and play a part, while out of the audience's gaze being a totally different person. This is what James calls a double-minded man, a divided person. You are given a perfect opportunity with a brother to hold out word and deed in a brotherly relationship and help bridge the gap in love. This is edifying when done well, I would argue that it's edifying even when it's attempted!

I don't think that Paul in 1 Corinthians 5 was at all advocating discipline that starts with step 4. I would be confident to say that as an apostle he was well aware of Jesus' teachings and based on his actions, particularly thinking of his approach to Peter in Galatians, he started with step one in his own disciplining. Paul was a discipler, like you are, and took opportunities to discipline in love.

I am not disagreeing that hypocrisy sucks or that we shouldn't be upset by seeing it in business, politics, the church, whatever. But what do we do with it? Do we try a few times and then just observe the surface, make stylistic associations, be quick to condemn, and then "expel the immoral brother"? No way I can see that. But help me see what I'm not seeing.


This has been a super-helpful conversation for me, I hope you know. I appreciate your honesty and feel empowered to engage through the things we're talking about. We don't have to be perfect or monastic to be able to step out in grace-space and try to seek the Lord together. That's a privilege of the Church and a pivotal part of the Christian life. I'm sure there are seasons where this is easier and where it's harder. But it's the life we've been blessed to live.

Matthew 18 starts with talk about being like the children. I think the Christian life often starts this way. The Church can do no wrong and is the most exciting thing ever. Then, like a teenager, we grow up a bit and realize, wow, my "parents" are not so perfect, so I should deny everything they do for a while. But once that's out of our system, we have to grow up and see the Church for the good God's intended it for and the way that even the faults are inseparable from who we are and the tasks we're being molded to engage in our own lives and our own lifetimes. I think this is the incredible and insane context of grace really existing. And like children, we don't have to be perfect or 100% rationally certain; we can trust God's character and go.

What am I not seeing?

7/30/2004 3:49 PM  
Blogger John McCollum said...

Brad--

So much to say here, so little time this morning. But I wanted to respond just a little. Maybe over a Guinness and a cuban, we could really tease this one out.

1. Church Discipline: You rightly point out that 1 Cor 5:11 a part of a church discipline process, and that the ultimate goal of church discipline is to bring the offending brother back into intimate relationship with individuals and the body.

But given the state of denominational fragmentation and lack of church discipline within denominations and local bodies, I'm not sure how I would pursue such a strategy with the average 'Christian businessman' who happens my way.

In most cases, I have no way of knowing whether someone has been confronted by one brother, two brothers, the church and been turned over to Satan. I suppose I could call each person's pastor before signing a contract. But I can't imagine that many pastors would tell me -- confidentiality, and all.

From a business perspective, if I confront a potential client with his apparent greed or dishonesty, it has the same net effect as refusing to work with him in the first place. In either case, I'm not getting the job.

I have to make case-by-case judgment calls. I also have to draw on my personal experience to pre-judge whether or not I think I'm likely to get screwed. My experience has shown me that people with fishes on their cards (literally and metaphorically) are using their faith to cover up other deficiencies that are likely to come back and bite me in the end.

Which brings me to a second, probably more important issue:

2) Fellowhip: You state:

"To me, this is the whole point, though, man. Why would you rather spend your time with non-believers than with believers? You've obviously got a heart for discipleship. Evangelism is just pre-discipleship discipleship. I know you to be bold in your presentation of the Christian life, just like you present your business; but in communicating on this blog at least, your making a preference for non-believers over believers which (forgive me if I'm sounding more harsh than I mean) doesn't seem to be coming from a call to discipleship through business, but seems to be coming from a "giving up" on those who use the name Christian in business. My question is, What is driving this preference? It seems like more than just "bad business"."

Didn't Jesus get grilled over this by the Pharisees?

"Why would you want to spend all of your time eating, drinking, talking and walking with these scum?" The implication? If you were really a good Jew, you'd spend time with other good Jews. You should be investing in the community of the righteous, not dissipating yourself with these immoral people.

I'd argue that Jesus gave (in some cases) preference to non-believers. By living out my faith among unbelievers, I get to make my work evangelism, not just discipleship. Much more can be said here, but I'm outta time.

And dude, it's not like I don't do discipleship at work, and it's not like I don't advocate Christians holding other Christians to high standards. I have Christian friends at my office EVERY day, and they interact with my non-Christian clients and vendors on a pretty regular basis.

I just don't buy into the idea that I'm supposed to have any built-in preference for doing 'Christian design' for 'Christian clients.' And that's for a lot of reasons.

What would happen if we all took this to an extreme? What if all of the honest Christian businessmen gave preference to Christian clients, vendors, organizations? How would our salt get into the waters of the world at large?

And what would the effect be on the Christian community? Probably what I've argued the effect has already been: lower standards for ethics and professionalism, because everyone knows that you really should buy insurance from the Christian insurance salesman, even if he is more expensive and sells a shittier product.

I dunno. It's early Sunday morning, and I have to get ready for church. I know I haven't thought this out well enough to adequately address your earlier comments, so I just kinda barfed this out. I must admit, I have a rather visceral reaction against the notion that I'm supposed to return to the Christian bubble that made my jaded and inneffective in my earlier life.

Help me see your side.

All things being equal, and offensive content aside, do you believe that you should have a preference for Christian television programming over secular programming? Or Christian music over secular? How bout Christian restaurants. Or clothing? Why? Why not?

8/01/2004 6:54 AM  
Blogger brad said...

Rock on, John. That was a helpful commentary. And I can see how you would want to associate my comments with Jesus and the Pharisees, though, I think that's going much farther than what I mean.

I'm arguing for no preference, just honest contact with whomever, and as Christians that we do it in such a way that we acknowledge Christ as part of every interaction. I don't think Christ ever gave preference to non-believers, but I do think that he gave extra attention to those willing to be discipled. Sorting the willing from the unwilling takes effort on the part of both people in the relationship. And I likewise don't think he gave preference to believers who lacked the willingness to be discipled. Part of "discipline" is an edifying nudge toward discipleship. This edifying nudge is as needed by Christians as it is by nonChristians; to forsake one over the other in the name of Christianity is, I think, unfair to say the least.

I don't know how I'm perceived in this conversation; I am inferring that because to "stand with the Body" sometimes is to "wear" the assigned clothing associated with it in the eyes of those with whom you're speaking, that I am being seen as a Bible-thumping subcultural guru or something. I have to trust that God is Lord over all my relationships and hope that enough time and integrity will redeem the clothes given me to wear.

But speaking as one who probably agrees with you on most thoughts about Christian consumerism, I will say that I try not to embibe either the Christian marketing spirit, nor the reactionary spirit that condemns the surface of that marketing spirit. To me they are the same: surface level Christianity, more about "right propaganda" (getting your symbols right) than about "right standing" (getting your daily lifestyle right) in Christ.

And that's not to say that I don't see the Lord's ability to use both. Christian propoganda (if you will) is something I've seen be important in early stages of discipleship; new Christains are trying to readjust the structure of their worldview and the way they symbolically inhabit the world. Early "holiness training" (being set apart from the world in Christ) often requires somehting of a break, a retreat, an incubation period so as to re-engage confidently. Paul did this in Antioch for five years before engaging the world as a holistic Christian. But if it stops there, at the "incubation point", then it becomes just hollow structure without the substantive reference to guide it into more than legalism.

Likewise, I've seen the reactionary spirit call people out of their hollow appeals of Christ through propoganda. But when that reactionary spirit becomes the point, then it is still only based in "right structure" or symbolic reorganizing and has nothing to do with reference to the real Christ who makes any law or structure make any sense.

I'm probably not explaining myself well. But that is a place to start. I think generally you and I will only "violently agree" if we pit ourselves against each other in this conversation, which if edifying I'm willing to do.

My point is that with Christian marketing, Christian business, whatever... there is right way to engage the surface and edify through a redeeming orientation toward Christ and there is a wrong way to engage the structure and make the surface "fashion, style, whathaveyou" the point, rather than Christ. If a person is growing at whatever pace they grow by being a "Christian businessman" or a Christian singer, or a Christian t-shirt wearer, then who am I to do anything but encourage their growth? If they are falling into the traps of sin and antithetical Christianity to Christ, then who am I to not try and stand next to them and walk toward Christ together? I think this is as true of standing with Christians as it is of standing with nonChristians. There is no preference one way or the other in Christ. But it's the "in Christ" that makes all the difference.

Does that make any sense?

8/03/2004 10:33 AM  
Blogger John McCollum said...

yes.

8/03/2004 12:20 PM  

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