On being a Christian

When i was young i remember hearing on the radio someone saying they weren’t religious they had a relationship with Christ. i thought that sounded cool, but had no idea what it meant, but i said it anyway…

In college, i actually developed a relationship with God. And one year the big break t-shirt which i wore proudly said “0%, 100 % relationship” which greatly confused my Catholic room mate…
And one night my friend Justin (both these guys were at the wedding last week by the way) came into our room par usual and i was reading my Bible or something, and he said “I’m not religious like you.” To which i said “I’m not that religious either”

The conversation with Justin went well. i got to explain what i meant. You may see it as religious, but i’m reading this Bible because i love reading it (i wish i could still say that with the same honesty i did back then). Spending time with God, doing the things i do for God bring me joy. It was my best conversation with J, but he still said that God could never accept him (that was pretty common thing my friends would tell me back then).

Still, i gotta think people don’t understand this idea of not being religious.

Nowadays, it has gone a step further. We don’t just say we’re not religious, we don’t even want to say we are Christian.

 

There is a phenomenom out there that is called Christian culture.

It is interesting to me that there are Christians out there who don’t want to be called Christians. They don’t want to associate themselves with Christians. They call themselves followers of Christ… but they don’t want to associate with those who do.

 

Now, it has gone farther. Folks call out Christians because they are weird, because they are cheesy, because they are “legalistic.”  Then there are others who will rip on people because they are not holy enough. The songs they sing aren’t accurate enough. Or they look too much like everyone else.

Everyone has their own problem i suppose. We may say it is because they don’t really represent Christ, though for others it’s if they stand behind their convictions, because they share their faith, or because of their theological stance one way or the other.

 Not a Christian, but a follower of Christ they say…

 

I still think the modern-day church sounds like the church in Corinth to me. I am of Paul. I am of Apollos. I’m even better, I follow Christ.

 

News flash folks: you can’t love Christ if you don’t love your brother. And if you’re not willing to associate with your brother, why would Christ be willing to associate with you.

 

The same people who will scream for racial reconciliation and for unity are the same people who create these new barriers and give little grace to others.

 

Are there faults in the church? Sure. But shouldn’t we work at loving each other and building each other up, rather than tearing one another down?

 

We blame everything on this Christian culture, instead of owning up to our own faults and sins.

 

The problem isn’t Christian culture. And the biggest problem people have with Christians is not that they are cheesy or weird or strict- it’s the hypocrisy- the biggest being we talk about love, but then do nothing to show love- especially to each other.

 

I often have found it ironic that there were always students in a movement or a church who would champion the cause of unity with other groups and churches, when there wasn’t even unity within their own group!

 

I live in a city where there are a ton of different groups. And I get along with these others pretty well. In years past, teams have come in and built good friendships with them… but they didn’t so much with each other. We weren’t intentionally putting off others, but we did work hard at building community within our own group- and I think it was worth it.

 

If we want to be relevant to the lost community, I think we need to work on loving one another… and then on sticking to our convictions- being committed to holiness and the Word of God, even if some may call it strict or judgmental or whatnot. It’s the wavering that hurts us more…

 

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7 thoughts on “On being a Christian

  1. Indeed, it is hard to speak the truth in love. And it’s easy to like people and thus not love them by speaking the truth. I do both, unfortunately. The term, ‘Christian’ – that’s an interesting one. I don’t like using it, personally, because the person hearing it associates it with a bunch of groups and practices that are anything but biblical – and are even heretical. They may think of the local, Scripture-rejecting UMC or PCUSA church when I say ‘Christian.’ Or something else. I can hardly call myself an Evangelical anymore to be honest, as this undefinable movement begins to splinter between the same thing the church split over 100 years ago – the authority of God’s word.

  2. Another excellent post – the question now becomes, how to fix the problem.  I’m glad that you worked hard at building community in your own group and saw the results both in the group as well as the outer community that you were called to serve.  We should be such salt and light that a dying and thirsty world is drawn towards us – and we’re not.  And part of the problem is just exactly what you’ve stated – people who don’t love each other aren’t light and salt at all.
    Her is a though for an analogy for you to work with – and I think it will be one that interests you since over the time that I’ve been reading your blog, I’ve prayed more than once for your back.  If your body, made up of all its individual parts has to work well, all together, and you know that you have a “lame limb” as it were with your back, how do you compensate – how do you set things up for success since you know you’re not starting out with a “whole” body to begin with?  And – how does this reflect the way we should live “in community” not only within our own bodies but within the intimate “Christian” (in quotes because I mean it quite literally as “little Christs”) circle of your small group or your church?  What does it look like to you – what joints/limbs/other body parts do you see causing the most trouble and what do you do about it?  Can you be proactive?  I’ve been thinking a lot about the end of Heb 12 where it talks about making your paths straight so that the weak limb is healed rather than put further out of joint.

  3. Interesting thing about my back. When i went to the therapist, she had me stretch out my hamstrings, work on my gluts and my belly and my shoulders in order to get my back right. i think i posted on this before, but i certainly have used this illustration- the whole body is connected. Though my back is feeling the pain it is because other muscles aren’t in the place they should be.As for solving the problem (i should probably put this in the actual post too)…In practice i don’t know how i act, in theory i go back to the same thing for everything…The first thing is to preach the GospelWhen we begin to understand grace, understand forgiveness, understand love- we will be able to operate better in a loving community. Christians need to have the Gospel preached to them. And some need to come to Christ in the first place2. The ministry of the Holy Spirit. Too many Christians have not really allowed the Holy Spirit to work in their lives. Too many people do not understand who the Holy Spirit is or how He works in us, or they are afraid to. The Church needs a better understanding of the Holy Spirit.IF we all have the same Spirit in us- HE binds us together. And if the Holy Spirit is working in people- they will trun from sin( John 14 – He convicts of sin), they will begin to live for Christ ( John 14 He glorifies Christ) and they will begin to act like Christ ( John 15, Gal 5 – HE produces fruit).Now, the Holy Spirit doesn’t necessarily transform people over night. He chips away at people. But HE also doesn’t require a change first, HE is the one doing the change. So the change can begin overnight, it just won’t be complete overnight.3.Love. In a phrase grace & truth. Both simple and profound.On a very practical level i am suggesting we move towards people rather than push them away or indifference.Malcom Gladwell’s book the tipping point he talks about how the NYPD cut crime down simply but eliminating graffiti and discipling small offenses such as jumping turnstyles. Once those were eliminated it created an atmosphere.i think there are tipping points for untiy/disunity.At UofM we started saying St John, St Luke, St Paul etc. Most of us don’t use those terms, but if we are all saints, is there anything wrong with saying that? But for some to not hear the Saint in front of their names is a huge turnoff. So, how about we all just say we are Christians. Those who truly follow Christ will come outAs for my team, it’s not that we worked hard to make a good team. It wasn’t a bad team that had to be improved.Ben noted at one point that we didn’t have as many good friendships with other Christian groups as past teams had. Then he said maybe it’s because we have had better team environments than the others did. i theorize maybe that is why we have a better team environment. Meaning: Often when we have problems with someone, we just leave the problem alone and go somewhere else. We didnb;t have that outlet and so worked thru the small problems and they didn’t become big problems. Instead of trying to solve other unity problems, instead of going to another source- we need to work on the small groups and the churches we are in.

  4. hhmmmmm.
    this is very helpful, a rebuke in terms of how to look for unity, very helpful especially the part about proximity and realness of love in tight community and not avoiding it.
    yea, there is this push towards unity among Christian groups at Brown, and i’ll keep this in mind as the year approaches.
    as for preaching the Gospel…YES!

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