Friday, April 3, 2009

Am I a Christian? Do You Care?

I believe I am Christian to the core - passionately and deeply. However, frankly, if “Christian” means follower and worshiper of Christ ONLY, I’ll opt out. If it requires the elimination of the Father as a real and separate and distinct Being, I don’t want the term. I’ll settle for disciple or follower of Christ or believer in Christ, the Only Begotten Son of the Living God. I’ll stick with an explanation of my beliefs, rather than a nickname.

If someone says, “Are you a Christian?” I will answer, “Do you care? I think so, but lots of others don’t. Do you really want to hear what I believe and decide for yourself?

I have lived in the Deep South and, after leaving a room at work, had "the spirit of the serpent that is among us" exorcised from that room. I understand the bigotry and the harm it causes. I just think "turn the other cheek" and "forgive seventy times seven" have much broader application than we often realize. If we will be known ultimately by our fruits, I believe that's a good place to start - refusing to take offense, returning a smile when we receive bile and, through that example, letting our light so shine. That probably wasn't an available luxury back when persecution was inflicted via gunpowder and tar, but when persecution usually manifests itself verbally, I think it's the proper course.

I think, fundamentally, it's judgmental and un-Christian to call us "not Christian" - but I don't think it's worth fighting about. I'll settle for "teach(ing) them correct principles and let(ting) them govern themselves" - exactly what I want them to do for me. If I have to give up "Christian" and stick with Son of God, the Eternal Father, I'm ok with that. That's the heart of the Restored Gospel anyway, in my opinion, so if I have to be identified with the Father when mainstream Christianity excludes me from their identification with the Son, so be it. I'll aim for the Celestial Kingdom rather than the Terrestrial Kingdom - since that's what each of us teaches in the first place.


adamf said...

Thanks for this Ray. It is a timely post for me.

I tend to feel a little weird when talking about "Christians" as if I wasn't a part of them. But perhaps I am not. And perhaps it doesn't matter.

adamf said...

Btw, I am really enjoying your blog lately. I always do, but especially the last few weeks. Keep it up!

Floyd the Wonderdog said...

I was approached by an evangelical at work. He had just attended a revival where he learned how to witness to Mormons. He asked if I was a Christian. I said that Christian is as Christian does. You can tell a Christian by their fruits. It left him speachless.

Later in the breakroom he was telling people that Mormons were not Christians. Someone said,"Wonderdog's a Mormon and he's the best Christian I know, so you must be wrong."

Yep, Mormon or Evangelical, it doesn't matter. Christian is as Christian does.

Anonymous said...


Papa D said...

adam, I'm glad this was timely for you. Every once in a while I sense a little inspiration in the timing, so I appreciate knowing when it really was.

Floyd, that is awesome. I will have to remember that phrasing, "Christian is as Christian does." I've always drawn the distinction with people between works and fruits, and I just love your response.

Choc, grease is the word . . . It's got move; it's got meaning. (Sorry, couldn't resist.)

Chas Hathaway said...

I consider myself Christian, even if there are others who don't consider me Christian. I also consider myself a follower of Christ, and I'm sure there are those out there who say I am not following Christ.

So be it.

I'll just try the harder to follow Christ.

- Chas

Anonymous said...

I work[ed] in a team,and we relied on each other to cover our backs,as I'm sure do many of you.We have to work towards unity in our work community or someone is going to either get hurt or die.Consequently,I cannot afford to have these conversations with colleagues,and we try to keep our realtionships strictly professional and agreeable.I think it's difficult to have these issues up front and remain professional,and my employers are very much of this opinion.'Christian' would not even be acceptable in the multi cultural environment in which we operate.

Floyd the Wonderdog said...

I had recently seen Forrest Gump again and figured that his momma had quite a point there.