What the eff is a Christian anyways?

I often hear people say to me, “I thought you were a Christian.” to which my stock reply is, “It depends what you mean by ‘Christian'”. People see me in advertising like this and get confused sometimes by my position on various issues. That’s fine by me, I never claimed to fit easily into anyone’s box.

The word ‘Christian’ these days is relative, by that I mean to you it probably means something entirely different as to what it means to me, or to anyone else. Do this as a little experiment…close your eyes and picture a ‘Christian’! Who do you see? What do they look like? What do they sound like? What do they say? Do you like them? Are you going to give them a chance? Do they have anything to say? What are they wearing? Who do they vote?

As you can see once you start burrowing down into details there could be a myriad of answers for those questions, in other words it is very hard to pigeon hole what exactly a Christian is…or is it?

If you ask the man-on-the-street they would probably define a Christian as someone who ‘hates the gays, loves smacking his kids and votes for National or ACT.’ Now these are my words and are purposefully exaggerated for effect but there will be many people who actually think that.

The reason I always reply, “It depends what you mean by ‘Christian.'” is because of that reason. In 2012 there are words that have been defined by their contoversary and by the media, Christian is one of them, just check out FOX News…Muslim is another, so is Feminism, Gay and a host of other words. Words that now have been defined as something that they may not be.

What is a Christian? Well according to some its a group of people who protest funerals of soldiers in America holding up signs saying ‘God hates fags!’ to others it’s the belief that the more money you have, the more God loves you, still others believe that to be a real Christian you must discipline your children with ‘a rod’. The word has been hi-jacked by some with an agenda but also been defined by some who use the word inaccurately. Some people who claim the word for themselves may talk the talk, but certainly don’t walk the walk. Other don’t ever say a word…but their ‘walk’ is what best defines what is means to be a Christian.

Today is the three year anniversary of the death of Sonny Fai. A humble ‘Christian’ man who gave up his life to save his little brother. In the bible (you know that irrelevant old dusty book full of inaccuracies and contridictions) it says this, “And here is how to measure it — the greatest love is shown when people lay down their lives for their friends.” I have no idea if Sonny Fai was a Christian…or a christian…or a ‘Christian’ but he walked the walk.

So what does it mean to be a ‘Christian’, well that dusty old book gives us an idea again.

Matthew 22

34-36When the Pharisees heard how he had bested the Sadducees, they gathered their forces for an assault. One of their religion scholars spoke for them, posing a question they hoped would show him up: “Teacher, which command in God’s Law is the most important?”

37-40Jesus said, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.’ This is the most important, the first on any list. But there is a second to set alongside it: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.’ These two commands are pegs; everything in God’s Law and the Prophets hangs from them.”

To translate. These two ideas are what the whole Christian faith hang on, they are what a ‘Christian’ needs to try to do to be a Christian. Love God, and love other people…everything in the Christian faith hangs from these two ideas.

Maybe the reason that it seems so simple, but historically it’s been so difficult is that making it simple is threatening to those in the church. Think about it, if all you need to do to be ‘in the club’ is love God and love other people then everyone can get in. It doesn’t say you have to do anything. Just love.

So I look forward to seeing all the alcoholic, drug taking, gay, feminist, fornicating, adulterers in heaven…with all those ‘Christians’ …should be an interesting party ah?

Oh, so when someone in the future asks me if I am a Christian….I’ll probably say, “it depends what you mean by that.”

8 thoughts on “What the eff is a Christian anyways?

  1. Kellie Leaf January 4, 2012 / 14:52

    Is your definition that loving God and others makes you a Christian, a bit general and open to interpretation? Does this mean that a member of any religion who loves “a god” and others can be called a Christian? John 14.6 makes it more specific.

    Also wondering about all the others who you say will be in heaven (..”alcoholic, drug taking, gay, feminist, fornicating, adulterers in heaven..”). Perhaps you’re being tongue-in-cheek? Whilst it’s wrong to point the finger at any particular sin or to judge others (which is not our job), there are definate references in the NT, that say that particular types of wrong-doing will not get eternal life. For ex. 1 Cor 6:9. Whilst Jesus preached love and acceptance of all people, he also made it clear that certain lifestyles are not acceptable in order to inherit the kingdon of God. Christian don’t simply have to love God and others. Full stop. We must also try to stop living our lives in ways that are contrary to what Jesus taught and do our best (with the help of God’s grace) to “…sin no more..” (John 8:11). Your mention of what sorts of people will be in heaven, gives the impression that simply accepting God is enough and that no further change is required of them.

    • Pat Brittenden January 4, 2012 / 15:29

      Thanks Kellie, I like your comments, I dunno if I was being ‘tongue in cheek’ or not, I thought maybe I was…but then again I am pretty sure that I have no idea who will be in heaven…so maybe I am not 🙂

      Always fascinating as to whom will have ‘eternal life’, I always think of the criminals to the left and right of JC on the cross…one mocked, one said ‘remember me’ and that was enough. He didn’t turn away from anything, he didn’t ‘repent’ as such, he didn’t ‘say a sinners prayer’, but JC said pretty clearly that’s he see him in eternal life.

      I guess my long winded meanderings are just that I think all too often we have the ‘right answer’ when really we don’t know as much as we say we do 🙂

      Thanks for reading my new blog, I hope you comment often 🙂

  2. aloeclaire January 4, 2012 / 20:39

    I like your article and agree that there may be more than a few surprised christians in heaven. Only God knows the heart of each individual and there are many mysteries hidden in plain sight in that “dusty old book” not yet revealed. I have listened to your talkback show for some time and I’ve always liked the way you refuse to let your faith be put into a box.

  3. Alex Haiken January 5, 2012 / 00:38

    In light of your post above, I thought you might especially appreciate this post titled: “Genesis 19: What the Bible REALLY Says Were the Sins of Sodom” (link below).

    -Alex Haiken

  4. Alex Haiken January 5, 2012 / 08:48

    Thanks, Pat. Glad you enjoyed the post. Feel free to surf the “Archives” page as there are plenty more thought-provoking posts. (Links to the “Archives” page can be found by clicking below.)

    -Alex Haiken

  5. Altus van As January 5, 2012 / 11:14

    Awesome article Pat. Always listened to you on ZB. Can’t say I always agreed with your views, but I always learned something from it.

    A while ago my son (12y) commented on one of the AB’s who he admired and he asked me if I knew weather the guy was a Christian? I said I did not know but I was wondering if it would matter? My son said: “He is such a nice guy Dad that it would be nice if he was a Christian.” My reaction was that not all ‘good’ people are Christians and not all Christians are ‘good’ people.

    If it was as simple as your ‘translation’ says, churches would be empty Pat. Golly no, there are quite a few things you still have to “DO” and to “AVOID” to be in the club. I like the simple view Pat – If Matthew 22 v37-40 wanted to say anything else, it would have. Churches have complicated the definition so much that the definition of a Christian now depends on what church you go to no longer what the dusty old book says.

    See you at that party one day Pat! 🙂

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