Friday, August 26, 2005

Call Me Christian?

It’s been a tough week for Christians. Pat Robertson has basically either gone head first into senility or confused national interests with spiritual ones. Or both. When it comes to assassinations of the sort Robertson suggested (and he did suggest it, no matter his belief that he was misinterpreted), I try to imagine Jesus pulling the trigger. Whom would Jesus snipe?

At any rate, one thing I have been gratified for is the almost universal condemnation of Robertson’s statement from the spiritual community. Christians in the blogosphere and in the press have condemned it, but I feel like it’s just been more damage to the cause of Christ and the furthering of the Kingdom. Some days it’s enough to make me want to shed the name Christian completely.

Now understand what I’m saying. I’m not saying that I want to give up my identity in Christ, but the word Christian has gotten so twisted in people’s minds that I sometimes feel to even wear that name becomes a hindrance. If I call myself a Christian among nonChristians, that name immediately has connotations to it, and unfortunate ones at that: judgmental, condemning, holier-than-thou (or holier-than-you, for you NIV folks), self-righteous, etc. etc. It’s almost like any good that we can do as Christians gets wiped out by people like Pat Robertson, the God Hates Fags guy, and Eric Rudolph. The message of Jesus gets lost.

Some days it seems really attractive to drop the name Christian with all its baggage and take on something else, like follower of Christ or disciple of Jesus or something like that. Some name that seems to describe where I want to be in my life, because if people think of Pat Robertson and not Jesus when they hear the word Christian, I’m not sure I want to be associated with that.

One final note: you should go read John Alan Turner’s blogpost from Wednesday, entitled Stop Praying for Vision.


Tiffany said...

What's wrong with Jesus freak? :)

I knew two people who went to my "Christian" high school, and chose other religions instead, based simply on the way they were treated by teachers and students there.

They were both too young to have really experienced Christ for themselves, and so had only the light shone by Christians to see. Both came to the conclusion that if Christians followed Christ, and this is how his followers act, then there must not be much to Christ.

And what makes it worse is that, even knowing them and their story, I have acted hatefully and judgmentally in the name of Christ, and done who knows what damage to the kingdom. I pray that for every negative incident with a Christian, God will provide people with a positive one, another chance for His light to shine through.

Malia said...

oh man, Tiffany beat me to the Jesus freak comment!

Malia said...

I was going to say "the Jesus freak punch", but in light of the recent assasination references, I thought that was a little too violent a statement


Rob Cox said...

Phil, I started laughing out loud here in the office when I read "Whom Would Jesus Snipe". I volunteer to start making the WWJS bracelets!

Phil said...

No on the Jesus Freak. Too many DC Talk connections.

Rob, I think the sad thing is that there would be a lot of people who would see no problem with a bracelet like that.

JMG said...

Phil, I have felt the same way lots of times, and I have read the same attitude on lots of blogs in the past several months.

Acts 11.26 tells when the term "Christian" was first used. I have read in several sources that Christian was actually a derogatory term attached to the believers by pagans. So the term has had negative connotations from its beginnings, but for different reasons from then to now.

Tony Arnold said...

Your blog reminds me of something Randy Harris said at OC this summer.

"So I face this delimma when I approach someone I don't know to help--do I approach Cross in or Cross out?"


Tony Arnold said...

I really liked Turner's comments.

Fantasy conversation: "Ok God, we are waiting on your vision. Just show us anytime."

"Still waiting Father."

"What do mean re-read the New Testatment?"


Ray LeGrand said...

It looks like we can't depend on media coverage to help get the message of Christ to the masses... I suppose we'll have to keep doing it relationally... one person at a time and not worry about general market acceptance!

Truth be told, I'm sure many of us would be embarrassed by our own comments and their connection with Christianity from some point in our own experience - Father forgive us for we may have actually known what we were doing and did it anyway...


Brandon Scott said...

Great post, bro. Right on.

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