Posted by: Drew | November 9, 2007

Everyone’s Favorite Obnoxious Evangelical

Everyone’s Favorite Obnoxious Evangelical“I would take the Da Vinci Code so I could burn the Da Vinci Code!”

“Green is a whorish color!”

These are a couple of my favorite Angela quotes from The Office, the hit comedy on NBC. I call Angela, “everyone’s favorite obnoxious evangelical” for a couple of reasons. First because she is an obnoxious character and secondly because her obnoxiousness is part of what makes The Office such a funny show.

Of course I don’t think that Angela is a fair representation of evangelicalism. And lets be honest, The Office is not the first American TV show to caricature evangelicals. Ned Flanders predates Angela by over a decade and South Park, well South Park rips on anyone and everything!

It would be easy to get upset and cry foul about the way that Angela makes Evangelicals look, but let’s face it, we don’t fit in with the world–God has not drawn us to himself in order for us to look good before the world. We could just dismiss Angela as a horrible misrepresentation of evangelical Christianity, however, I think there is an important lesson that we can learn from Angela! Most stereotypes spring from things that people have actually seen around them, meaning that Angela may be an exaggerated caricature of Christians, but there ARE some people who claim to be Christians who are as obnoxious and self-righteous as Angela is.

Instead of getting frustrated about how unfair it is to stereotype Christians, The Office ought to challenge us in the way that we evangelize.

First, we shouldn’t be surprised when the world slanders us, we are, after all, sojourners and exiles:

Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation. -1 Peter 2:11-12

We cannot expect the world to properly interpret the gospel when we preach it to them. In fact we should expect that they will misinterpret our message. We should expect them “to speak against us.” The point here is to consistently do good to those you are sharing the gospel with not matter what their response is.

Secondly, we can learn from Angela’s poor example, to maintain good manners in the way that we share the gospel! Check out 1 Peter 3:14-16

But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts regard Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.

Angela says few things “with gentleness and respect,” thus now seems a good time to remind ourselves that preaching the gospel is never an excuse for poor manners. The way we conduct ourselves matters in our displaying of the gospel of Christ to the world!

Don’t get mad about silly TV characters like Angela, instead seek to defy those stereotypes by preaching the gospel and living it out consistently before the world. They won’t understand, but there is hope that in due time, we will see them “glorifying God on the day of visitation.”

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