Sometimes I fear claiming that I'm a Christian when I introduce myself as a Christian. I don't fear Christ or claiming him as lord of my life - don't get me wrong that is a gift I bear with humility and honor.
It's just that, well, the word "Christian" means a whole lot of different things to people.
To some it means anti-gay, judgmental, righteous, pious…the list goes on. If you've read any of my former posts you probably have an idea of how I feel about some of this.
To be honest, I have found a lot of 'Christians' who are almost sick over the reputation the Church has today for being anything but loving and Christ like. We feel really, really misunderstood. I've wondered many times "if other Christians feel like this, then why do we have the reputation we have?"
I think a lot of it is there are people out there who claim the label "Christianity" but stop there. They believe salvation is about knowing the right things, having said the right prayer, having the ''right answers''. But it's not about head knowledge, or about how right you are or how well you know the Bible.
It's about having a real, authentic relationship with the Living God - the God who is Love. Sure, reading the Bible and putting the word on your heart can be one way you grow in your relationship with the God who created you, but just because you know the Bible doesn't mean you know God. Indeed, even Satan knows all of the right answers and probably all of the scriptures- even the forces that oppose love know all the right answers about love but, do they let love in? Do they let love teach them, permeate their being, humble them and mold them into living and existing in a way that is different from their own self-centered desires? No.
And that, I believe, is part of it. When "Christians" get caught up in having the "right" answers- we forget that whether we know the "right" answer isn't what matters - loving is. Really loving.
To me, being a "Christian" means living my life with the God of Love at the center - which means putting love at the center of my life. Not just a romantic love, but an other-oriented sacrificial kind of love- the kind of love Jesus showed us. The kind of love us messy, judgmental, pious, selfish, self centered beings don't deserve but desperately need and yearn for. Love without limits or expectation.
Which is why I was really moved by this sermon on Romans 10. Greg says it better than I ever could.
If you're healing from a misinterpretation of what it means to be Christian or Christ like, or just curious why all the "Christians" look nothing like Jesus - well it just might mean something to you too.