So I came across these statistic maps via a tweet by @graceground run by Jeremy Myers. Now, as you can see, Maine is not an incredibly “churched” state, and my county is one of the least “Evangelical” in the whole state (Alan, notice this is with the exception of Knox County). I remember during my time at Bible College how this was looked upon in such a negative light. I was often asked what it was like being from somewhere so “Unchristian” and “Liberal” and how difficult it was to share Christ in such a “harsh spiritual environment.” Well, when I look at these maps I think sort of differently (as I tend to do on many things!). I see that there are far fewer people here indoctrinated and drugged into spiritual-coma by the mass American Christian machine. I know that sounds a bit harsh, and maybe even Conspiracy Theoristic, and maybe it’s a bit over the top, but honestly it makes things much easier to be around people who are religiously “blank slates” and haven’t already learned all the church lingo and “right” answers, and are willing to say “I think that Christian stuff is a bunch of crap.” You can work with that. People don’t have any cultural, political, or career oriented motivations to pretend they are Christians, so they don’t. When they do say they believe it is usually legit and there is rarely much that they need to be untaught from cultural Christianity since they simply have not experienced it.
I was talking with a friend once. I asked him what he thought of the Gospel. He said, “whats that?” to which I replied, “you know Jesus on the cross and everything.” To which he responded (I promise this is true!) “I don’t know anything about Jesus, the only time I have ever heard His name is when my dad says ‘Jesus Christ!’.” That is what I mean by a “blank slate.” So after we talked about God creating humanity, humanity disobeying God, and God providing redemption to humanity through Christ, and after he surrendered to follow Christ in his life, he was a sponge ready to soak up anything and everything he could about God, The Bible, The Church, Jesus, Being a Christian, and so on. It is awesome to be able to disciple someone who doesn’t have to be untaught so much Cultural Christian baggage. It is the coolest thing to see a person like that pick up a Bible and read John 3:16 as part of John 3 as part of the Book of John, without even skipping a beat.
Honestly, sometimes, a lot of times, I feel bad for people living in the more “Christianized” areas of our country. It seems like beliefs can be so much more convoluted and unclear when Christianity is so culturally prominent.