christian Not Christian

Exploring Contemporary Christianity

Month: June 2016

Is “Christian” a Noun or an Adjective? Or Something Else Entirely…

So, I promised a more thorough look at why I chose the name ‘christian Not Christian.’

The idea first came when I heard someone on TV describe himself as a Christian. He said something like  ‘ I don’t like when people use the word “Christian” as an adjective, like saying I am a Christian actor, or a Christian musician.  I think ‘Christian’ is a noun. I’m not a ‘Christian’ anything, I am just a Christian.’

And I thought, wow, I’m not sure that perspective helps to invite non-believers in.  I mean, what does calling yourself a Christian, in today’s culture, even mean anymore?  Inside the faith, we know what being a Christian is supposed to mean. But outside the faith?  When asked to describe Christians using one word, one recent survey recorded “judgemental” as the most common answer, with ‘hypocritical’ and ‘anti-homosexual’ close behind.


So, clearly, there is a disconnect between Christ followers and those outside the faith that begins with the very definition of what a Christian even is.  


So, why ‘christian Not Christian’?


Of course the name Christ should be capitalized, I’m  just not sure, as his followers, we should need that same designation.  Aren’t we called to be humble, anyway?  In an act of humility, can we give up the capital C and stop scaring the children!??

I’m not saying never capitalize this word.  Let’s be practical.  lt is a proper name.  But I am saying let’s stop acting like we think WE should be capitalized. Like that’s all being a ‘Christian’ is all about… Being a Christian. Maybe Christianity is less about nouns and adjectives and more about ‘verbing’ our way into society’s hearts and minds.


Now, some of you will take offense.  But you would be missing the point.  The very people we profess to be trying to draw into discipleship,  are being turned off by a word that, it would seem, was never meant to represent the followers of Jesus Christ, anyway. (more about that another time).


In a nod to humility, to accessibility, and to getting someone outside the faith, to begin to peer inside…can we let go of just a little bit of the smugness that others sometimes perceive in us? Maybe giving up that capital ‘C’  – at least in our own minds – is a step in the direction of the humility that we are called to –  as followers of the most humble, selfless, servant-minded human being that ever lived.


I don’t think we  actually need to Write ‘christian’, not ‘Christian’.  But, maybe… let’s Think it.


Please join the conversation and answer one of the following questions:

If you’re a Christian, what is one way people around you can tell?

        If you are not a Christian, what would  be the best way – specifically-         for us to show ourselves to be followers of Christ?

Welcome to christian Not Christian


Hello and Welcome!

My name is Sherry and in this blog we’ll be exploring  topics concerning faith and Christianity.  I hope to help change the negative connotation sometimes associated with the word  ‘Christian’ and shed light on what followers of Jesus are really about.  I plan to post once a week and I welcome your comments, opinions and observations.  I would love for this to be an interactive forum so that we can all share, learn, and encourage one another.

I am no expert on any of this – far from it.  Born and raised Catholic, I was pretty much coasting in the spiritual department, but over the last three years, life-altering circumstances have driven me to explore my faith and study Scripture, to read and listen to many  scholars interpret the Bible, to examine who  God is and question how Jesus fits into the whole equation, and ultimately, to learn a ton of stuff I never knew about my own faith.


Why  “christian not Christian?”   One reason this name came to me is, it’s a play on the phrase  ‘sorry, not sorry.’  Have you heard it?  It’s like ‘I’m sorry that I’m not sorry’  when you feel strongly about something, or when you’ve done something to slightly inconvenience or offend someone.


This phrase rings true partly because I get tired of feeling like I have to apologize for being christian.  I mean, I get  it. I know.  In light of what some Christians have done in the past, and how some continue to behave today, I know that many don’t really Represent when it comes to the true meaning of Christianity. But, honestly, it gets wearisome feeling like you have to answer for what others have done – erroneously, for sure – ‘in the Name of Jesus’.


The phrase ‘christian not Christian’ applies also because I know, when  asked about our faith or spirituality, some of us feel like we need to answer with,   “Hey, I’m christian, but not ‘Christian’,  you know?”   – complete with air quotes and eye roll. Common misconceptions  about Christianity, coupled with media portrayal,  and some actual Christians’ behavior sometimes necessitates this response. 

But these are not the primary reasons for the name.

More on where ‘christian Not Christian’ came from, next time.

For now, please join the conversation and comment with your answer to this question:  

What one thought or phrase comes to mind when you hear the word “Christian”  and why?