So if you’re serious about living this new resurrection life
with Christ, act like it.
Colossians 3:1 (The Message)
It’s not an original idea but I’ve joined of the growing ranks of those individuals who don’t call themselves “Christian” anymore. After years of being in the church I’ve come to the conclusion that if “Christian” is an adjective, describing a person, place or thing today’s definition of “Christian” doesn’t describe who I want to be.
Before you get too frustrated, let me explain! Increasingly I have come to believe that the world has defined a “Christian” as a two faced, hypocritical, judgmental, stuffy, fluffy, not-in-touch-with-reality, stick in the mud. Of course there are exceptions but generally “Christians” don’t have a real good rap these days and it’s no one’s fault but our own.
Growing up I was raised in a Baptist church, went to school at a Lutheran one then moved to a Brethren high school. My college years found me at a non-denominational institution but worshipping with the Pentecostals. My husband and I started ministering together at an Evangelical Free church somewhere we made a sharp turn into ministering in the Presbyterian church – the liberal kind in case you’re wondering!
Here’s my thinking. I’ve seen and experienced just about everything that “Christians” can argue about from baptism to communion to Biblical interpretation to how to settle (or not settle) disagreements and the list goes on. And very little of the behavior defines the character of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.
It didn’t take long for the first century church to become divided amongst themselves about the teachings of Jesus and “how” they were to live. The term “Christian” was given to them by others, early in Acts, as a way of distinction. They were different, set apart, from the rest of the crowd.
But now our distinction has become of a different sort. We are distinct because our behavior between each other, our congregations, our communities aren’t all that different than the world’s behavior. What the world sees is “Christians” not being able to get along, even arguing about the foundations of our faith.
So, this is how I want to be known. I am a Jesus follower. My life should reflect the character of Jesus. I want to be known for how I move through the world – living openly, eagerly, a continual student of the Bible, a contemplative recipient of the Holy Spirit, a responsive disciple of Jesus and in awe of the God who made me. I am a Jesus follower. I pray my life will make a difference.