We tried to tell people about having their sins forgiven and being saved. But probably they were honestly confused about the benefits of this. It seemed to just change our social life or cut off everything we used to enjoy, and hell was just a myth anyway. So they had no sense of urgency about changing their bad habits. All the straight stuff we Christians did looked so boring, and what they did on weekends was the most meaningful part of their life.
So we tried to convince them that the Christian life was full, rich, and satisfying. We tried to be as redeemed, whole, and integrated as possible. Studying diligently to make good grades showed how Christ could put responsibility and discipline into your life. We played racquetball, jogged, and ate more natural foods to show how He was concerned with even our physical well-being. We went places and did things together; we could be as crazy a fun group as anyone would want to see. We were well-groomed, in fashion without being bizarre or extravagant, and weight-conscious, because we knew Christ wanted us to make the best use of what He gave us, so people could be attracted to Him.
We joined secular clubs and organizations so our example of His life would extend further, and so we could introduce the Christian perspective into more areas of community and campus life. We read books, magazines, and papers, and went to movies, plays, and exhibits, so we would be well-informed, able to relate in some way to the unbelievers around us, bringing the Christian perspective to bear on the things they were reading and watching.
We were looking for any good opportunity to witness. We became socially active in anti-hunger programs, and politically informed so we could discuss current issues and support Christian candidates.
We saw ourselves becoming more well-rounded human beings, more confident, people who non-Christians might wish they could be like. And we were more than ready to tell them how Christ wanted to do all of this for them, too.
But amazingly most non-Christians were relatively unmoved by our life and example. They had pretty much everything we had, without Christ. They saw us there in college classes learning the same material, going for the same grades and scholarships, and ultimately, the same careers. We sketched nudes in art class right alongside them, because, well, it is God's creation, and as long as you're not lusting, it's part of art, right?
We looked like most of the non-Christians -- the ones with good taste, anyway. We came back from long spring weekends with a dark, all-over tan just like theirs, only ours came partly from witnessing on the beaches, not just laying out and sailing.
They listened to classical, jazz, rock, and punk -- and so did we, only by Christian musicians. They dated; we dated. They had immoral relationships, and some of us did, too, perpetually and frantically assuring ourselves of being "covered by the Blood" since "Jesus knows my heart." They drove sports cars; we drove sports cars. They partied after the football games on weekends; we had Christian parties. The big difference was that they slept it off on Sundays, then got up and read the paper with coffee and donuts. We got up, had coffee and donuts, went to church, and then came home to read the paper. On Monday we were both back to the same routine.
The non-Christians were especially unimpressed because they found that Christians from different groups and churches (and even from the same groups and churches) had contradictory reports on what Christ expects out of His followers. Underneath it all, they detected the same fears, insecurities, and self-interest that motivated themselves.
As it turned out, the only non-Christians wishing they were like us were the ones who sensed how we'd mastered the world at its own game, how we were able to maintain a controlled, upstanding life, yet have all the "good" of the world at our command. These were the nerds, the weirdos, and the misfits who dropped in and out of our campus ministries, always a little too demanding, having the same problems over and over. It was too bad we didn't have true cleansing for their dirty consciences that plagued them unbearably, and true healing for their damaged personalities. Somehow, being "saved" didn't seem to affect them the way it did us.