Thoughts on Kingdom, Church, and Grace from an American living in Hong Kong

Monday, November 24, 2008

"Just regular Christian"

A few months back I was getting my son set up on his Facebook account before we left for China. As we were filling out the personal info section we came to "Religion". "Christian" he said. As I started to type in Christian a drop down menu appeared showing various denominations. After explaining a few of them to Gabriel he said, "Go back up, just regular Christian."

Just regular Christian...thats what I want to be. People seem to be less likely to just say they are "Christian" these days. Perusing my "friends" Facebook pages you will find "followers of Jesus", "love Jesus, not religion", "disciple of Christ" and all manner of definitions which essentially mean "Christian".

A couple years ago in church, our pastor asked people to share what was the first thing that popped into their head when they heard the word "righteous". I immediately thought of a Lancelot type knight with pure, shiny armor. But as people went around the room I realized my view was the minority. Instead, most people immediately had a negative view of the word with the image of a self-righteous "church-lady" character. I was amazed. Like in George Orwell's 1984 where words had a disassociation with their actual definition, "righteous" in many people's minds was a "negative" word.

I guess thats why many Christians shy away from defining themselves as Christian. When they hear the word they think of the pastor caught in a scandal, or the evangelist who is manipulating the masses, or the shrill advocate who shouts hate instead of Christ-like love.

I sympathize with the reaction but cannot concur.

When I hear the word "Christian" I think of the thousands who give of themselves daily to clothe, feed, and tend to the sick in the name of Christ. I think of persecuted believers who risk bodily harm to share the gospel of Jesus. I think of the volunteers I just met this week who take care of the special need orphans at a foster home in Beijing. And I think of the untold masses who have been executed because they would not deny that they were Christian.

Yep, I think of those things and say:

"I'm just regular Christian!"


Redlefty said...

Hey, that's all I want to be too!

I'd love to have a time machine and go back through the centuries to see how the word "Christian" has gone through different connotations.

Brook said...

you must be Andy's brother! go see the comments I left for his latest entry. I think they apply here too.

Bob said...

I am just so tired of labels and what they are perceived to mean -- liberal, conservative, Christian Left, Christian Right, Evangelical . . .

I had the privilege yesterday of serving at an inner city church which reaches out to the hurting in their community. We served food and distributed clothing and for people who didn't come to them, they went and got them. I belong to a suburban church where, I am certain, the average income of parisioners is much higher than that of these folks . But I know this: we don't "get it" nearly like they do.

Thanks for a thoughtful post.

Don said...

Nice post, Steve. Hope you had time to read my post on the Trinity. I would like your comments. In case you missed the link:

Come visit any time.