"Reverend" Bill is certainly not meant to be as presumptuous as it might sound. No one actually calls me that these days. To be honest, most people don't even call me "pastor" (which I'm totally fine with). The "reverend" title goes back to my sophomore year at USC, when I lived in a community dorm / suite with seven other guys. As far as I can tell, I was the only Christian among us.
My life was hardly discernible as "Christian" at that time, other than doing my best to read my Bible, and occasionally inviting my roommates to Campus Crusade meetings. Nevertheless, this was sufficient to register me as the token "believer" in our corner of the Fluor Tower dormitory.
Over the course of the year as some of us became better friends, our conversations became deeper, and religion inevitably surfaced as a topic. My roommates had questions. I didn't have answers. They had objections. I could offer no solutions. Our conversations and debates about God, the Bible, and Jesus stayed light-hearted though, and they started affectionately calling me, "Reverend Bill". I guarantee one thing: Vocational Ministry was just about the furthest thing from my mind at that point in life.
And yet, here I am.
Thinking back to my roommates at USC, I realize now that if I had the appropriate training (or even the categories) I would have noticed the same anomaly plaguing our conversations then that I notice plaguing conversations about Jesus to this day: most people have no idea what Jesus actually taught. Or at least they've forgotten.
Our culture today too often gets its view of Jesus and the Gospel based on a vague memory of something we read in a Bible over a decade ago, or what Bill Maher says about Christianity on his TV show, or what the latest meme floating around social media says.
All of this - without giving Jesus the respect to look for ourselves and see if what he is purported to teach, is actually what he teaches.
That's what I want to do. I want to teach what Jesus teaches. I want to live how Jesus lived, and equip others to do the same. I want to bring all kinds of Jesus-related content to a post-Christian culture that increasingly misunderstands him.
Bill Brown (@revbillbrown) serves as Associate Pastor of family life and worship at Immanuel Baptist Church in Grays Harbor, WA, where he lives with his wife, Jacey and their two boys.