christian Not Christian

Exploring Contemporary Christianity

Month: July 2016

What’s a Christian to Do? Part II

 

…So what if they don’t think being a Christian requires the complete package, the total set of beliefs? Meet them where they’re at on their journey. At least they think Jesus was a cool guy and he taught about love. We can all agree on that!

Isn’t that a good enough place to start?

Imposing all of our theology and all of our rhetoric on them from the get go is not exactly working.  For a great example of this, check out this  blog post from a couple of years ago. It is a disheartening, uncomfortable, and all too familiar story from a non-believer. If you are honest, you may see a bit of yourself in it :   http://thomrainer.com/2013/06/what-do-non-christians-really-think-of-us/  

If you’ve just read it…ouch, right?  I think in our exuberance and excitement, we forget where we were before becoming believers. We forget how annoying someone is who is so sure of their beliefs that no one else’s matter. So confident we are right,  we just must convince everyone around us of it.

So, really, the answer is  in  the question posed at the top of this page.

What is a Christian to Do?

Well, a follower of Jesus is to ‘Do’ christianity. Christianity is not just some nice label, some nice title we trot out when someone asks us about our faith.  And it’s not simply an adjective to plant in front of your job description either, Christian musician, Christian actor, Christian parent, teacher, coach etc.

Maybe instead of a noun or an adjective, the word  ‘christian’ is better thought of as a verb. Like:

‘He was in financial trouble, but his neighbors ‘christianed’ him into solvency’  and ‘The little girl was being bullied on the playground, but a classmate ‘christianed’ her aggressors and now they are all friends.’  and  ‘Her husband became distant and lost interest in their marriage, but she ‘christianed’ him and now their family is stronger than ever.’   

You know, like that.  

 

So, as a verb, christian can mean – help, assist, encourage, accept, forgive, strengthen, love –  how radical would it be if we could get those who have had a bad experience with someone claiming to be Christian, to actually believe that this is what true Christianity is all  about?

Next time, some practical thoughts on ‘doing’ Christianity.

 

Please join the conversation by answering below in Comments:

If you agree that ‘being’ Christian is not enough,

What have you done, what are you doing, or what might you do?

What’s a Christian to Do?

Ok, so far, we’ve given up the capital ‘C’ attitude of Christianity, we’re agreed that humility should be strongly considered, as  followers of Christ and we know many non-believers think we are judgemental, hypocritical and homophobic.  So, now what?  Assuming this alarms you, assuming you would like people outside the faith to at least like us, give Christianity a chance, maybe…

Where do we go from here?

 On more than one occasion (ok, two, actually), many years ago – in complete innocence and ignorance, and not meaning to offend anyone at all – you guessed it, I offended someone. This was long ago, when my own faith was tentative at best, and I had little knowledge of Jesus, the Bible, general Christianity, any of that.  In response to a conversation, each time, that indicated they thought Jesus was a great teacher and and prophet and an all-around cool guy, just not the Son of God, I said “Oh, so you are not a Christian?”

This was highly offensive both times I said it. Since then I have learned that many people have many different ideas about what Christianity means.

So to me it is clear that non-believers don’t define the word ‘Christian’ the same way that we do.  I mean, I know we can fight it, try to educate everyone that ‘Christian’ indicates that you are a follower of Jesus and His teachings – which include that he is the Son of God and part of the Trinity. But maybe when we use the often proclaimed phrase  “God meets us where we’re at” (misplaced preposition duly noted), well maybe we take a page out of that book on this, and meet those outside the faith ‘where they’re at’.

So what if they don’t think being a Christian requires the complete package, the total set of beliefs? Meet them where they’re at on their journey. At least they think Jesus was a cool guy and he taught about love. We can all agree on that!

Isn’t that a good enough place to start?

Come back next time for part two of ‘What’s a Christian to do?’