Here is a short list of what some people think of when the word Christian is
used. I think that Jesus Christ himself would give the following critiques:
- Hypocrisy. Christianity has at it's heart that we all have serious problems, we
sin and fall short of the perfection required by God. Individuals become Christians based
on God's forgiveness. It is inappropriate to pretend to be a good
person. Only God is truly good. God calls us to be authentic and honest
about our lives, about who we are. This includes being honest
about our faults and failures.
- Judgmental, Self-righteous. Jesus' strongest words were for the
religious establishment. God calls on us to love mercy, to show compassion. How can one who
has just received mercy turn around and judge another?
- Lives a good life based on the rules found in the Bible. A follower of
Jesus lives a life based on a relationship with Jesus. The rules found in the Bible were
only to function as a tutor, to show people how much they fall short of perfection.
Getting to know Jesus does transform lives and the actions people take, but
it's not about rules.
- Goes to church. Going to church, or not going to church does not make, or unmake
someone a Christian. Going to church doesn't make someone a Christian any more than
walking into a garage makes you a car. Being a Christian, a follower of Jesus is about
your relationship with God. The Bible is clear that going to Church is a good thing, but
it is a result of a relationship, not the basis of a faith.
- Ascribes to the agenda of the religious-right. Jesus said "My kingdom is not
of this world. If My kingdom was of this world, then My servants would be fighting, that I
might not be delivered up". Jesus kingdom is in men's hearts. This isn't to say that
followers of Jesus should or should not be involved in politics, just that a Christian
Nation is a dangerous myth because it encourages people to look to the government
rather than their Lord for guidance. There is no one correct brand of politics which is Christian.
The Bible is clear that God is concerned with justice and human dignity. God is concerned
for the poor, and for those without advocates like widows, orphans, and people who are
away from their homeland (aliens, immigrants). The Bible does not tell us how we must address these
issues, just that they must be addressed. So just as it would be in appropriate to say
that God would back the religious right, it would be equally wrong to say that God would be
a liberal on the left. God is above our petty human politics.
What he desires is nicely summed up in Micah: To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your Lord.