Today's food for thought brought to you by Niece.
"Religion is like a penis. It's ok to have one and it's ok to be proud of it. But it isn't ok to whip it out and start flailing it around. And it's definitely not ok to shove it down someone's throat without permission."
I'm sorry if this offends, but I loved her analogy. It makes me think of a much more crass version of St. Francis of Assisi saying, "Preach the gospel at all times, when necessary use words." I will say it loud and clear, I am a Christian. I believe that Jesus Christ came to die a horrific death to free me from the bounds of sin and to redeem my life that I can stand before a holy God, unashamed.
I also believe that Jesus offered grace to sinners. When the woman was caught in adultery, He could have condemned her. The law said He should have condemned her. But He didn't. He gave her grace and told her to go and sin no more. He was known to hang out with people scorned by the religious folk of the day. He didn't force anyone to believe in Him as God. He never demanded it as His right or insisted that everyone had to see things His way. Instead He loved them and they chose Him willingly.
As a Christian, there is a line between being proud of my relationship with God and crossing that line to be rude and forceful with others. Jesus wasn't rude or demanding. The Bible says that it is God's loving kindness that draws us to repentance. It isn't spiritual rape, forcing our beliefs down someones throat without permission, that brings people to Christ. It is when we act like Jesus did and love those who are hurt, when we minister to those who are broken, when we accept them just as they are not expecting them to be perfect, that makes a difference in the lives of people.