Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Will the "Real" Christians Please Stand Up?

I love Nancy Rue, both as an author and as an individual. It has been my delight to get to know her personally over the past several years, beginning with a time about seven or eight years ago when she spoke at an event for tweens at our church and I got to "chauffeur" her between the airport, hotel, and church. It's a whole 'nother blog post how much my girl adores her and how much she has promoted Nancy's books, both officially at event book tables and unofficially by giving them as gifts and even chatting with someone at a bookstore trying to decide on the perfect gift for their granddaughter!)

So I am absolutely delighted to be one of Nancy's stops on her week-long blog tour to celebrate the release of Too Far to Say Far Enough, the final novel in The Reluctant Prophet series. (If you are new to my blog, be sure to check out my review and bonus giveaway, which I posted yesterday.) Each day this week, Nancy is addressing some tough topics, and today she asks how we define a "real" Christian. Fill up your mug and enjoy this mocha break with Nancy Rue!

Will the “Real” Christians Please Stand Up?
by Nancy Rue

If I were posting on my own blog, “The Nudge”, I would start off by saying, “Hello, fellow Nudgees!” We’re creating a community of people who feel nudged by God (or suspect we are) and need a place where people don’t think we’re crazy. I so appreciate Linda for allowing me the chance to bring that community to yours – craziness and all. Knowing the amazing Mocha Linda as I do, I have a feeling you are “Nudgees” just like we are. And can I just add that I’m so glad she’s been nudged to be such a loyal supporter to me?

We’ve been talking about God’s wisdom as imparted in The Reluctant Prophet series, and we’ve discovered that more often than not, the answers we seek come to us through even more questions. Somebody has counted how many times in the Gospels Jesus responds to a question with a question. (If anybody knows, fill us in, would you, and maybe this time I’ll actually write it down!). It only makes sense that that sort of conversation with God would continue in our relationships with him.

So here’s one.

Protagonist Allison Chamberlain is like so many of us: she’s built a foundation of faith in the church, with the help of a loyal group of friends (who she fondly refers to as “The Wednesday Night Watchdogs”), and has studied Scripture until she could probably recite the Synoptic Gospels on demand. Her entire Christian experience has been within a body of solid believers, and so just as most of us card-carrying Jesus-followers do, she has defined Christians as people who have been baptized. Who belong to a church. Who pray and try to live pure lives and – well, you know the list.

But when Allison is nudged by God to get outside those walls and see what’s really going on out there, her definition of “Christian” is challenged. Is it only those who have answered an altar call and prayed the Sinner’s Prayer and have agreed to follow the plan for salvation? Could people who unintentionally live as Jesus did, perhaps without being able to put it into words, be included under the category of “Christian?” Do we call hypocrites and bigots and just plain judgmental folks Christian because they have formally accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior – and yet not be willing to give that name to people who are in the trenches, fighting for justice in our society out of love and the desire for every human being to be seen? Could it not be that if your life looks like the one Jesus led and you know that comes from God – you are, indeed, among the saved? Or does it have to look the same for everyone?

As I’ve said so many times before, The Reluctant Prophet is not an indictment of the church or anyone’s way of celebrating every soul that is saved from a living death by surrendering to God. It’s an indictment of anything that isn’t real. Some social justice communities tend to morph into ‘anything that’s warm and fuzzy is Jesus so why even mention his name’ – and that isn’t real either.

What I want to see is what’s promised near the end of the trilogy, in Too Far To Say Far Enough: the church doing the Jesus-thing . . . all the way. And that means every one of us asking ourselves, not, “Is that guy over there a ‘real’ Christian?” but “Am I?”

Drives me to my knees every day. Good thing we’ve got God and grace and this body of folks we journey with.

Nancy Rue is the author of over 100 books for adults and teens, including Healing Waters, which was a 2009 Women of Faith Novel of the Year, and The Reluctant Prophet which received a Christy award in 2011. Nancy travels extensively-at times on the back of a Harley Davidson-speaking and teaching to groups of `tween girls and their moms and mentoring aspiring Christian authors. She lives on a lake in Tennessee with her Harley-ridin' husband Jim and their two yellow labs (without whom writing would be difficult.)

Thanks so much, Nancy. Lots to think about, both here in your post as well as in this book and series. Readers, let us know in the comments: what do you think is the most subtle and/or dangerous lie folks believe today about what makes someone be a "real" Christian?

Now what you have probably been waiting for…
winning books!

Nancy’s publisher, David C. Cook is giving away:
  • Reluctant Prophet series (3 books) to 10 winners,
  • PLUS 10 copies of The Reluctant Prophet to each winner’s recipient of choice.
Nancy will personally sign each book as well as include a letter with The Reluctant Prophet to your person of choice.

Visit here for the Rafflecopter entry form and official rules.

If you are joining the hop midway through and not sure where to go, here are all the stops for each day. That way you are able to maximize your entries into the giveaway, as well as capture Nancy’s heart as she wrote this series:

Monday: Nancy Rue, The Nudge “What Hank Says . . . About Leaving the Pew”
Tuesday: Mocha With Linda “Will the “Real” Christians Please Stand Up?”
Wednesday: Jen Hatmaker “When the Nudge Drives a Wedge”
Thursday: Julie Cantrell “That Whole ‘Unequally Yoked’ Thing
Friday: Far From Perfect MaMMa “Is It Worth Having a Record?”

If you would like to connect with Nancy, she can be found here:

Website: www.nancyrue.com
facebook (adult fans): www.facebook.com/nnrue
facebook (for teen fans): www.facebook.com/nnrueforteens
twitter: www.twitter.com/nnue
pinterest: www.pinterest.com/nnrue
In addition to Nancy’s blog, The Nudge, (for her adult audience), she also has a blog for teens (In Real Life) and for tweens (Tween You and Me)


View blog reactions


Marti Williams said...

I love that quote from Nancy Rue's book. People are looking for the Jesus who really exists, not the one many of us manufactured. My heart breaks for those who aren't in an intimate relationship with Him. I want to know Him more and more!!

Tessy said...

For me.. the issue is sacrifice. I have been a Christian since I was 13 years old and though I have learned and grew in my faith... I wasn't challenged to sacrifice anything for Jesus until about three years ago. Jesus had no earthly comforts.. He was all about the kingdom. We want a relationship with Jesus that is comfortable and nice and has no risks.

Nicci Obert said...

I think that a big lie that a lot of Christian moms believe is that we are called to "protect" the world for their children. I find that this often means to vote republican and to keep our kids in "good" schools or homeschool, and away from the evil influences of the world. But when I read the Gospels, I don't find Jesus hiding away, or suggesting that His disciples hide away from the world... we're to go out in it, and bear witness to his saving grace. I love my kids, and I do want to protect them and keep them from danger, but I want them to understand the pain of the world in a way that is honest and true, so that they can be messengers of grace and ministers of love and healing and reconciliation. I don't pretend to know how to do that best, but I think that hiding away is dangerous, for us and our kids.

Erin said...

Thanks for the blog on Jen Hatmaker's site. Really enjoyed reading it and am looking forward to reading your books.

Jennifer said...

Thank you for challenging us to step out of our comfort zones!!

Nancy Rue said...

It has been awesome -- in the true sense of that word -- to be part of Linda's blog this week. I'm so grateful to hear that so many of us are on the same page, no matter what our theological backgrounds. We're Jesus people. Thank you, all of you. Nancy Rue