This past weekend at church we considered the adjectives people tend to use to describe "evangelical, born again Christians." People in the congregation readily volunteered words like "close-minded, judgemental, angry, boring, repressive," etc. The really sad thing about this list is, A) that it's generally true; and B) that people tend to think that if a person becomes more devoted to their faith that they will become worse rather than better. What this results in is a culture that says, basically, if you're going to be a Christian, don't be anything more than a nominal one. This is so crazy!!!
A while back researcher George Barna asked people to describe Jesus. They used words like wise, compassionate, joyful, accepting, etc. He then asked those same people to descibe Christians. They used words like those our church listed. Mr. Barna then asked, "How can those who name themselves by the name of Christ ("Christ"ians) be so unlike the one they call their Lord?" There's a simple, logical, and disturbing answer to that question. I'll let you work it out for yourself.
Jesus said, "Why do you call me 'Lord, Lord' and do not do what I say?" What did Jesus say we should do? We should do what he did - love the down and outers and the up and inners. To care for the sick and the sinners. To laugh and cry. To throw parties and attend parties. To stand for what is good, right, and beautiful. Trust your life to the care of God. Give your life away. Just read what Jesus did and do that. It's that simple.
Maybe we need to discard the name Christian all together. It's too junked up. Jesus wasn't a Christian. That name was used for his followers a while later. The name Christian is not sacred. The life of Christ, living in those who are his apprentices, now that is sacred.
Here's my confession, I rarely call myself a Christian anymore. I do it around other Christians because, frankly, I'm still too wimpy to be that "radical." But I'm tired of the name and how it is now associated with a life that is virtually opposite of the life Jesus lived and invited others to live. So, now, I am simply a follower or student of Jesus. Jesus help me not to screw that name up too.