There is a nagging question I struggled with during my last year at my Christian university. When I made public that I had turned away from the Christian faith, the responses were much more varied than I had anticipated. A few were blatantly negative: “I’m disappointed in you,” one girl told me. Most were simply curious. But the strangest thing happened, people who I had never spoken to before began suddenly popping up in my life. Most of these individuals are part of what I came to affectionately-not pejoratively-call the “God Squad.” It became obvious though that these people were concerned with one thing: getting me saved. Most of them were tactful enough to not go right for ‘the conversation,’ but it was fairly apparent that their only concern was that I was a lost soul who needed redeeming. And they were there to kill me with kindness for Jesus.
I didn’t mind, really. If a bit misled, and more than a bit patronizing, the gesture was at least well intentioned. In their defense, they had my eternal soul at heart. You have to appreciate the effort. But it does call into question the extent to which these people actually care about their non-Christian friends as people rather than projects. I am fairly certain that under normal circumstances I would never engage in any kind of friendship with the people I’m referring to, we simply don’t share much in common. Yet they were willing to transcend our differences with an alternative motive.