Today, I heard someone talk about being engaged to a "Christian" man. That started me thinking. What do we mean when we say someone is Christian? That they pray? That they are an active part of a community of faith? That they go to Bible study? Or, do we mean that they hold a certain belief about Christ? Or God? Or salvation? Or do we mean that they behave a certain way? With kindness?
I suppose many would say that being Christian has to do with belief. But, I don't know about that. I mean, a person can believe in Christ and do terrible things....in the name of Christ. The Crusades. Slavery. Oppression. So, I don't think belief quite covers it. I think Christian in its purest form means relationship with Christ. It means responding to people in ways that love him.
That's hard. It is much easier to go to church, go to Bible study, and believe. It is harder to love him when it comes to our dealings with others. The poor. The mean. The aggravating. It's harder to love him when it requires me to put someone else first. We talked about that this week in my little ministers' study group and the notion that we should consider others as better than ourselves. That is so counter cultural. And, yet relationship with Christ provides so much love that we don't have to compare ourselves with others to make sure that we are ahead of them. We don't have judge the behavior of others to make sure we are better than they are.
Just some ponderings I had today. What does it mean to be called Christian?