Just this past month, Brian Tamaki, a leader of the Apostolic churches known as Destiny Church, organised something called a freedom march. Basically, he and other Christian leaders, notably Peter Mortlock from City Impact Church, led a giant gathering of over a thousand people in the inner-city for a rally.
This was in response to the governments Covid-19 restrictions that have forced those of us in the largest city of Auckland, to stay home for 10 weeks now.
I like many other Christians was left angry and frustrated that the leading figures of this demonstration were Christians. I like many of Aucklanders have obeyed government laws, giving up my own personal liberties, to comply and keep our city safe.
Brian Tamaki, Peter Mortlock, and many other Christian leaders are adamant that apocalyptic persecution is occurring right now for churches and society, rather than a necessary societal response to a once-in-a-century pandemic.
This has made me realise something: us Christians can be annoying. So, for your amusement and my need to vent, here are some tips for you on how not to be an annoying Christian. If you do any of these things, simply, stop. It’s not reflective of the hope you have in Jesus. It's just plain annoying.
Relax with the doomsday predictions
Some of the leading proponents of conspiracy theories are religious people. Which is so sad, but also not totally surprising? Christians profess to have faith, a trust in a God who is invisible. This element of trust, is not necessarily grounded on scientific fact or logic (although I do not want to dismiss these as foundations to faith—for many they are!)
No, the trust is indeed, as the famous Michael Card once sang: “to hear with my heart, to see with my soul, to be guided by a hand I cannot hold, to trust in a way that I cannot see—that’s what faith must be.”
And it is this trust that can lead us to trust other things as well, namely, conspiracy theories. Governments seeking to persecute us and remove our rights (particularly in the West). Secret societies trying to take over society. Covid-19 and its source (was it made in a lab?), 5G frequency waves, and more lately vaccinations (how can we trust what’s in them?)
Now, to some reading this, these things are valid points. Some would probably be offended that I am dismissing these concerns.
The question I ask these people is: even if these things are true, which I highly doubt, what good is there for you and those around you to believe in them and trust them to be true? Is more harm than good a result? Do you trust more on Jesus and less on your own judgements as a result?
Please, stop being annoying. You do not have some esoteric knowledge that the rest of us unenlightened do not have. Check and verify the websites you read. Don’t just like and subscribe to every YouTube clip or Instagram post that the algorithm spits out at you. Think. Discern. Use wisdom.
Talk with others especially those who do not believe the same as you (hopefully you are a part of a church community where these people exist… if not—run!) All in all, please, rethink your latest whacky hearsay conspiracy theory.
Think beyond your own rights as in individual
Back to the original introduction of this article. Those who marched in the Freedom Marches did so where Covid is actively spreading in our local communities despite government restrictions.
This virus targets those that are disproportionately poor and brown. This event is a potential super-spreader event. Ethically, no Christian can justify this action. Plenty who went said they went for freedom. But the reality is, there actions have caused harm to those who did not go—whether they like it or not.
Much of this sadly can be attributed to the very American concept of “freedom”. Freedom, to be able to express oneself and your opinion. Freedom to not be “controlled” by “oppressive” governments.
Sadly, this is a foreign value based more on a colonising worldview than on any other. In our country, us Christians could learn a lot from my Māori people.
In a Māori worldview, values we have such as whanaungatanga (family), manaakitanga (hospitality), aroha (love), awhina (support) all undergird our collective responsibility to support each other. In fact, look again and you see such christian values as koinonia (fellowship), mutual love, serving the other, and looking out for the most vulnerable.
This stands in complete opposition to what the so-callled Freedom Marchers did. There actions were misguided but also selfish. To be frank, they did not portray Christ and His Spirit. Please, whatever you do, don’t be like this.
Caleb Haurua completed his Masters in Applied Theology at Carey Baptist College in 2017. He is the Youth Pastoral Leader at Royal Oak Baptist Church in central Auckland. He loves to ponder, muse, and share thoughts. Hence why he likes the opportunity to write articles like this one. He is especially passionate about the intersection between Church and Society—seeing Christians grow and flourish as participants in God’s ongoing mission to the World.