This post was originally published for Provoketive Magazine on January 28, 2011.
Growing up in the church and in a Christian family, I remember hearing about a lot of different people in our community who weren’t acting very Christian.
How does one act Christian? It seems simple, but can be very complicated. Don’t Christians just follow the way of Jesus, choosing to live as he lived, engaging as he did?
Christian \ˈkris-chən, ˈkrish-\
noun : one who professes belief in the teachings of Jesus Christ
adjective : of to, or relating to, Christianity or being a Christian; based on or conforming with religion of Christianity
When people ask if I am a Christian, I usually say that I am “christian-ish.” This has nothing to do with being lukewarm, but is because of my desire to be viewed separately from the general Christian contingent. Though it boasts many good and desirable qualities, Christianity as a religion has been known to judge, to condemn and to look down upon, at times. There may be those who will judge me and even presume to know me, and in their condescending eyes I’ll seem to actmuch less Christian then they do.
And they’ll be right…because I’m not acting Christian at all.
It feels more honest to follow Jesus organically then to label myself Christian and become part of the club. I’d rather be found trying to follow in the footsteps of Jesus then be found acting like a Christian. I’d rather risk it all, trip and fall while conquering mountains with Jesus than play it safe and just go through the motions, doing chair aerobics in the comfort of the church.
Whether I go to church or label myself “Christian,” does it really matter? It’s written in 1st Corinthians 13:1-3 that even if I were the most amazing “Christian,” doing all the church stuff, I am nothing without love!
I’d rather spend time with “non-Christians,” allowing them to notice something different about me that they can’t see and be attracted to the love of Jesus in me, than to be repelled by a “brother” or “sister” in the Lord because I am different than he or she.
I’d rather be good to the bad than blend in with the bland. I’d rather be loved by someone than be told that someone loves me. I’d rather feel and share the love of Jesus than just talk about it.
It’s important to me to be a part of my community and not pretend that it’s my “holy” segregation makes me a Jesus freak. The principle of “in the world, but not of it” doesn’t work unless it’s informed by Love.
Where I once bought into to the fear-based mentality of avoiding this world’s reality, I’m learning to embrace the beauty of a world created for me. I’m learning what it feels like to be free, I’m learning to taste, touch, hear, smell and see. I desire faith that lives, moves and breathes because I’m disgusted with a convenient, oppressive theology. A little less conversation and little more action please!
Keep it real. Follow Jesus.