In an interview about his new novel, Will Willimon talks about the way most of his characters (especially the clergy) are not all that praise worthy of lovable He says he hopes this will draw people to the church:
I think if someone reads this and says, “Look, I’m not the best person in the world, but boy, some of these people are just horrible — and they’re clergy? They’re Christians? Wow. Well then, there really is hope for me,” that would be fine.
This is a very Willimon-esque sentiment. But I’m struck how at odds it is with all the discourse we hear about the way people outside the church, especially young people, look at Christians and see them as petty, judgmental, and hypocritical people and decide they don’t want to be a part of that. We are constantly told that who we are is what drives people away from the church.
Willimon’s response, I take it, would be, “Hey, we are just like you. Come be with us.”
The key for Willimon, I think, is that he thinks the desire to follow Jesus will be so strong that people will put up with sinners they have to sit next to on Sunday to follow him.