What Christians should be known for

(Click here for a video of John reading this Catch.)


I’M FOR THE SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND HATE — a popular bumper sticker that speaks a volume of truth.

Every once in a while, it becomes necessary to refocus our sight. Who are we as Christians; what do we stand for; and what are we supposed to be doing? This has become increasingly hard to do and increasingly necessary in a society where Christians have become associated with causes that run far afield of what Jesus championed and the early church adopted. So much so, that before we can talk about what a Christian is, it becomes necessary to point out what a Christian is not, because the presuppositions formed by a culture war will color everything else you try to say and do.

In effect, Christians have been branded by our culture, and in order to talk with Christians or non-Christians about what it means to follow Christ, it now becomes necessary to say, “It’s not that, it’s this.” It’s a lot like Christ’s statement, repeated often in the Sermon on the Mount, “You have heard it said…, but I say to you …”

You have heard it said that a Christian is against abortion, anti-LGBTQ, in favor of the right to bear arms, and for their own religious freedom, but I say to you a Christian is a follower of Jesus and how His gospel relates to the deep, unresolved needs of any generation for love, meaning, community, peace, justice, and religious freedom in the public square for all religions and none. Big difference.

This is the advantage that Boomers have in regards to history. We can go back to our formative years during the Jesus Movement when our Christian faith was carved out of a fresh look at the New Testament church, and a freedom to forge new paths.

This is what Boomers can offer Millennials —  a long enough view back to where following Christ was not encumbered, as it is now, by so many social issues. To be sure we had our own misconceptions to fight (mostly legalism) — any generation does — but ours were not so well-known so we were free to make a new statement. This is why we talk now about setting out on a path into a new frontier, and these are the things we want to talk about and foster whenever we can: love, meaning, community, peace, justice, and religious freedom for all religions and none. And to this list, I would add forgiveness and mercy, and, of course, grace and grace turned outward in an environment where all are welcome, for that is what we represent, the gospel of welcome.

I’m going to list these characteristics one more time here and ask you to get very familiar with them. Think of this list as a sort of litmus test with which to identify what you want to invest in as you take up your place in the world. These are the things we care about as Christians: love, meaning, community, peace, justice, religious freedom in the public square for all religions and none, forgiveness, mercy, grace, the gospel of welcome, and grace turned outward. These are the things we should be known for.

This entry was posted in Christianity and politics, community, grace turned outward, Worldview and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to What Christians should be known for

  1. John Fagliano says:

    You said it very well today. Even a non-believer can know that the folks in that disturbing photo are not following Jesus. Can they see God for who he really is? The God of this age blinds people and no one is immune from that regardless of how Christian they think they are. If Jesus is going to be seen in us it will take the miracle of God opening their eyes. And to open the eyes of blind “Christians ” as well.

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