Dear Friend,

November 12, 2013
Claire Bechard

Author: Richard McConnell, Pastoral Intern at
The Orchard – Arlington Heights
A letter to my friend who is not a Christian: 

Dear Friend,

If I was to ask you, “What is Christianity all about?” you will think I am a bit weird for raising the topic of religion. Rightly, you may wonder how I have the energy, inclination (or even the audacity) to make this a topic for conversation now. However, let me make an appeal; give this letter a hearing and accept my sincere desire to just explain a little bit about what Christianity is about. You read a lot, no doubt, and have probably noticed how cynical writers are and also how mixed their motives tend to be. Usually people who write want to inform, but are never far from the goal of persuading you by their clever and shrewd marshaling of the evidence. But, let me state my main motivation upfront: (and I don’t pretend to be immune from other motives) I want to explain precisely what Christianity is so that you have an opportunity to decide from an informed position whether it has any merit. I believe that the Gospel (literally, good news) about Jesus Christ has merit, even today. Not only merit, but properly understood, the good news found in the Bible, is potentially life-changing.

Perhaps you don’t want your life changed. That is fine. I think that most people don’t wake up with that on their to-do list. But I also think that it is true that most of life’s greatest changes seem to come quite unannounced but nonetheless dramatically. You meet a person on your first day at school or in a new job and suddenly a new acquaintance develops into a lifelong friend. You take a few steps and board an airplane and a few hours later you are in an unfamiliar country. You utter a few words for the first time, “I love you” and in so doing have defined a once casual friendship in terms of a binding and exciting partnership. Many simple actions are potentially life-changing. And others are simply simple actions that make up the fabric of any day you live to enjoy. When you stop reading this letter, perhaps that will be it. Or perhaps it will be just one more step on the road to understanding one of the larger world religions.

But while all this is true, there is the potential for very significant life change, as there is with a lot of seeming mundane tasks. So let me suggest that you open a familiar book – the Bible – to the book called “Mark.” The full name is “The Gospel according to Mark.” Let me encourage you to read it, perhaps for the first time. It is a well-paced and simply written account. It is also good news. Please read it and I will read it too: Mark 1:1-“The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God…”

Let me know your thoughts as you read through Mark, maybe over coffee or lunch.

Your friend,
Richard

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