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If you need to call it ‘Christian’, it probably isn’t.

I’m not against labels. In a increasingly complex world we need systems and categories to organize life.

But who exactly does the Christian prefix help?

Does it help Christians make decisions to become more like Jesus? ‘Oh it’s Christian, then it must be okay’

Or does it cause them to outsource their own ability to discern?

Does it help anyone foreign to Jesus come to know him more? Or does it only distance people further?

The first followers of Jesus were called Christians. Except this wasn’t a self-appointed title; it was a description given to them by others.

We’ve got Christian bookstores, video games, softball leagues, even breath mints.

Would any of these pass a blind taste test challenge if we removed the Chrisitan qualifier?

The most disconcerting part of all this is that it flies in the face of the God of all creation and the hope of redemption of all things.

Does Jesus like Christian bubble gum more?

{ 6 comments… add one }

  • Albert September 1, 2010, 12:24 pm

    I think I’ve always thought that the “label” offers the contrast/distinction between something explicit/collective versus something implicit/individual.

    Now, of course it becomes absurd when you label something out of place (i.e. bubble gum) – but there are certain things where it may hold more meaning (i.e. book that explicitly talks about christianity instead of implicit arguments for a call to be redeemed)

    Now, in totally agreement that there is no distinction between the sacred and secular, I think there can be a difference between something explicit and implicit – where in both contexts the equal valued source of the effort/hope is that God is reconciling all creation to Himself.

    But yes after all that, the label perhaps divides more than it helps categorize 🙁

    • Lon September 2, 2010, 8:24 pm

      good thoughts Albert – some say only ‘people’ can be Christian. But the whole semantic debate i feel is lost in a world that increasingly has no clue what that word means.

      ‘Christian’ could be a grand beautiful word/adjective/verb/noun, etc… but does tagging on the word positively help anyone outside of this conversation?

      • Joe--ie September 8, 2010, 2:02 am

        <3 this post!

        Interesting comment from Albert – context definitely is key… and at the same time, explicit/implicit labels also set up expectations for the user and allow ppl to navigate through life/society with more 'control'.

        Example – I see a blues/jazz record store. It explicitly tells me that the music found in this store will be strictly blues or jazz related. If I (as the user) know that I am not interested in blues or jazz, I will never venture into that store. I am then able to "control" my interests by closing opportunities before they are even allowed to exist. I will continue to "build"/"strengthen" my love for other-music by continually listening to it and not venturing outside of it; however, I may never get a chance to listen to blues/jazz and I'll never know if I'll like it. Simply because… this label has told me what it is. And because I have preconceived ideas/notions and connotations associated with this label. Good thing or bad thing? Up to your discretion.

        On another note though, hope you don't mind me quoting from another book:
        "Then the man added, "I grew up in a small town in Indiana. We were the only Jewish family surrounded by Christians. It was a terrible way to grow up. We were never accepted; we were always outsiders. The only contact beyond superficialities was when some of the fundamentalists would tell me I was going to hell; they hoped to convert me. Obviously, they had the opposite effect. I travel a lot, and wherever I go, it seems that Christians are creating in-groups and putting everybody else in out-groups.""
        – A New Kind of Christian, Brian McLaren (p63)

        • Lon September 15, 2010, 5:57 pm

          yup, labels are both helpful and harmful at times…

          interesting quote as well – what’d you think of the book?

  • Joe--ie September 20, 2010, 12:31 am

    Hey – haven’t made an opinion yet of the book. Still finishing up the last few chapters, but so far, have found it extremely interesting and a great read. Aside from commenting on the ideas, I love the writing style – makes it such an interesting and easy read.

    What did you think about the book? 😉 haha. I’m cheating, I know.

  • Georgia Witt December 23, 2010, 4:48 pm

    good thoughts Albert – some say only ‘people’ can be Christian. But the whole semantic debate i feel is lost in a world that increasingly has no clue what that word means. ‘Christian’ could be a grand beautiful word/adjective/verb/noun, etc… but does tagging on the word positively help anyone outside of this conversation?

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