One of the biggest stumbling blocks

I wanted to reply to something written by Bertrand Russell’s daughter.

Russell was a philosopher and outspoken atheist in the 20th century. His daughter, apparently, was not.

What she says has a lot of truth in it. No one can deny that one of the biggest stumbling blocks to Christianity is Christians. It is not that we are sinners. That is not the problem. The problem is that too many of us think we are righteous. We are not humble. We are not meek. We are not gracious or loving. We show forth all the works of flesh and dare to slander Jesus by naming ourselves after him.

But – for all that – I think we do God a great disservice if we imagine that shoddy Christianity is more powerful than the Holy Spirit.

I met a woman recently who could name everything that turned Bertrand Russell’s stomach. She had seen church people who could barely get the “Amen” through their lips before they started lashing each other with their tongues. She’d known the man who stood up and shouted “Praise Jesus” on Sunday morning and came home to beat his wife on Sunday afternoon. She’d been hurt by Christianity. She’d seen enough pain and suffering in the world to question the idea that God is good and loving.

But still see searched, still she was convinced that God is and that God is seeking her.

If we want to find reasons not to believe in God, the world and worldly Christians will give us plenty of them. The larder is never empty. But the Holy Spirit still works anyway. And where ears and hearts are ready to receive, the truth is still heard.