christian Not Christian

Exploring Contemporary Christianity

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?


  1. As a Christian man, I think there are 3 ways that people can tell I’m a Christian. First, I tell them. I don’t mean I jump into their face and announce “Dude – I’m saved!!”, or anything like that. I lean on nonchalance. I mention that I did such and such at church or I talked about that at bible study. No big deal, it’s just who I am. Second, I try really hard to be nice. I offer to help if it is needed. I hold the door for the person behind me or on an elevator. I say something nice about someone if I find myself saying something negative about them, sadly a favorite sin of mine. If people see me acting in a loving compassionate way and know that I am Christian maybe they will think better of us. Finally, I pray that people close to me will see a difference in me, because with my walk in faith and as I fall deeper in love with Jesus, I want to become a better man. If I succeed and Jesus gets me there, others will be able to tell.


    July 15, 2016 at 12:28 am

    Agreed! Showing compassion and love for others, like Jesus did, is the best way to ‘preach’ the Gospel. I think it’s especially effective when your behavior is noticed before someone even realizes you are a Christian.

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