Who is Christian?
I am asking a serious question about who qualifies as “Christian” these days? If you look through the pages of world history you’ll find that there have been quite a few sects, some of which have become mainstream religions, that have fought quite bitterly over who gets to call themselves Christian.
Some folks were upset that the Bible was going to be printed in anything other than the heretofore approved languages. Other groups vied with each other over who could be baptized at what age? Some people said Jesus was a man, not a God. Others have said there is and always has been only one God, so stop talking about other gods. Some folks have said there wasn’t an historical Jesus anyhow, others have insisted that he comes to speak to them almost bodily, if they are in the right prayerful frame of mind.
Lordy, we are confused!
Now in this Presidential race we have a couple of protestants, a couple of Catholics and a couple of Mormons. ( I didn’t capitalize protestant because I am not referring to a particular branch of protestantism, if I had said Baptist, or Methodist, or Presbyterian I would have capitalized them.) The point is that they all have very different views of faith. We are no longer at the same table when we discuss Christianity and perhaps no one ever was.
That reminds me of one story that all Christians should be familiar with, the story of the Last Supper when even at that table there was some disagreement over the divinity of Jesus.
Since I’ve tried to be a good practicing Christian I had a hard time trying to figure out who gets to wear the mantle of Christian! Some hardline fundamentalists would deny a man or woman giving what they felt was simple mouth service to the faith. They’d say a Christian has to act like a Christian! Then there are the Catholics who say you are born a Catholic and there is only one wholly Roman and Apostolic Church. I’m sure you can guess which Church they affirm. Mormons think Jesus came back to the America’s and ordained their Church the true church.
The Jesus I read about in the New Testament said things like love one another. And love those that persecute you. And love your neighbor as yourself.
Honestly, I’ve got a lot of problems following those simple prompts. I think of myself way too much, and it isn’t always positive! For example, my own worries about who I think I am often keep me from reaching out to others even when I’m feeling led to do just that.
I don’t think the Jesus of the New Testament asked that anyone promote themselves as his followers. As a matter of fact, I remember that some of his nearest and dearest were afraid to even say they knew him.
I’m not proud of it, but I think I’m that kind of Christian.