Do I Call Myself Christian?

nature of a servant next christians

Name the first word that comes to mind when you hear the word “Christian”.

Nature of a servant next christians

Last night I had the opportunity to hear Gabe Lyons, founder of Q Ideas, co-author of UnChristian, and author of The Next Christians, speak to Multnomah University students about Christian faith in current culture. Lyon’s research lists the top six responses from church outsiders, ages 16-29, when asked, “What is your perception of Christianity?”

Sheltered (out of touch with reality)
Too political
Proselytizers (not genuine)

You can imagine my embarrassment identifying with a group of people displaying these stereotypes. “Anti-homosexual” the number one perception? That makes me want to vomit.

Look again at the above list. When did Jesus ever give reason for these perceptions? Hint: He didn’t.

In my almost-43 years on this planet, I’ve viewed Christians in this light. Yet, my faith in Christ never wavered. I couldn’t understand the disconnect.

Gabe Lyons’ talk helped me to make sense of it all.

So often our faith representatives concern themselves with “The Fall” (our sin) and “Redemption” (accepting Christ as a savior). But what about the rest of the story?

We hardly talk about the beginning; the Creation of us. The love God poured into this earth, into his creatures, into you and me. Perfection.

Nature of a Servant

Christians talk about the sin. Oh, how they talk about the sin! The mission becomes all about “getting saved” from sin by praying a prayer, outward symbols, and inward conversions. But there’s more…

After creation, after the fall, after the redemption, there is restoration; learning from Christ’s teachings and actions in order to love our culture into wholeness. 

Nature of a Servant

Jesus never made himself stand out by proclaiming without action. He entered relationships. He healed the sick, fed the hungry, encouraged the poor. After he did these things crowds would gather. Then he would discuss spiritual restoration. 

Critiquing and condemning accomplishes nothing but apathy and negative attitudes. I don’t want to be separate from my culture, I need to be a part of it. My heart will remain true as I follow this scripture:

Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.” 1 Peter 3:15,16

When I identify and dedicate my life as a “restorer”, taking action to help people escape their personal hells, then, yes. I can be proud to call myself “Christian.” 

Read Gabe Lyons’ essay, Influencing Culture, here. 

How do you label your faith?

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  1. Natalie Trust says

    This is so good, Andee. I'm wishing I could have been there last night!

    I was very uncomfortable labeling my faith for many years. I tried "Christ Follower" because the term Christian just seemed to trigger all the reactions that you mention here in this post. Ultimately, once I converted to Catholicism I became comfortable with the label Christian again.

  2. says

    Natalie, I wish you were there last night, too! I would have liked to hear your perspective on Gabe Lyons' lecture. I know I want to go to our church leadership team to share some things he had to say.

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