I saw Pitch Perfect 2 the other night, and was surprised to see a trailer for a movie about Hillsong church music thrown in the mix with the twenty-five minutes of movie trailers they play these days; and as I sat in the theater, I found myself becoming a little nervous at every mention of God in the trailer. Watch it...they even speak about God like He's real!
While watching, I wondered what the normal, potentially secular movie-goers would think about such a trailer before such a non-religious movie. What sneers would follow, with more criticism at the mention of God in somewhere-besides-church than a trailer for Transformers 5? And so, as the trailer ended, I waited with baited breath, anticipating the chatter behind me to bash such a religious propaganda piece advertised in such a place.
But I heard nothing. No one commented. No laughs or sneers. None of what I expected. The next eight trailers played (it's getting kind of ridiculous, really) and the movie started.
So I have to ask myself, why did I get so nervous at the very real mention of God in a secular location? And why do I expect an adverse reaction to God from the world?
Experience has shown me multiple times that, the truth is, people are more okay talking about religion than I expect.
I remember eating lunch at an old job with people of various faiths, most of which would have said they were not religious. Something about religion came up and I answered honestly about my beliefs. They responded with what they believed and the conversation moved on. No one got angry. No one threw up counterpoints about why "Creationism is a silly doctrine" and that "Christians are intolerant and unreasonable." It was just a normal conversation about what we believed, and it taught me an important lesson -- we should not fear talking about God to people who may or may not believe in God the same way we do.
For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.
2 Timothy 1:7
I don't know where this presupposed tenseness about the mention of God in public came from (don't even ask what happens when people say, "Jesus"), but I think it's unfounded. Sure, every once in a while someone will act hostile towards religion, but in our post-modern society, people are usually willing to bring up beliefs. Besides, if you have developed a relationship with people built on mutual respect and appreciation (perhaps with a spirit of "love," as Paul writes), why wouldn't they at least listen to what you have to say? It only makes sense.
So don't be afraid to speak up! You might just change someone's life.
But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them?