I don’t like Christian(s). By that I mean that I don’t like the term. Anymore.
It was first used at Antioch for believers in Jesus’ existence as God, and His life, death, and resurrection on Earth. They were formerly just called Followers of The Way or “those crazy people involved in a new fad where they followed the teachings of a poor homeless dude from Nazareth” and threatened to bring down the power structure that had been painstakingly set up by worship of pagan gods…eventually. So these people were persecuted and systematically snuffed out but their numbers grew. Some wound up in Antioch, got called Christians after “Christ” and the name stuck.
After Constantine converted to Christianity and made it the official religion of the Byzantine Empire, Christianity became politicized. The church (later Catholic Church) became a political and religious powerhouse, losing a lot of its luster as a different kind of approach to religion. I mean, when you say you know the Creator of the Universe enough that he gave up his glory to come and live as a human being, die for us, raise himself from the dead for us, and looks forward to living with us after we die (and after we are raised), and he desires nothing more than a personal relationship with us borne out of unconditional love and sacrifice, I wonder how it turned from that message to what Western Christianity is today with its prosperity gospels and political fundraising.
“Christian” has become synonymous with political actions to disenfranchise those who aren’t Christian or adhere to a few people’s interpretation of Scripture that defines a “Christian” way of life. “Christian” has become a term that stirs up resentment in people, not because of the message (as it was in the Soviet Union, and is in the Middle East and places like China), but because of how some so-called Christians behave. “Christian” is a surprisingly good clue to finding hypocrisy in a lot of people. As Hazel London said in front of Bella Noche’s, “That’s sad.”
“Christian” has become a catch-all term for people who simply go to church once or twice a year and feel they have to check off a box because it’s more virtuous to be a labeled Christian in America but have Hell reign in every part of your personal life. I even know someone who says Christianity is his religion but says he doesn’t believe in the notion of any god.
If we’re being honest about it, I think a LOT of self-proclaimed Christians would be in the same category – KKK, slave owners, segregationists, Pro-Life activists, those hungry for war, “let businesses do whatever they want, even if it blows up the Earth” people, etc.
“Christian” is the term used behind religious liberty laws that take away rights from LGBT people to sue for damages when their rights have been infringed upon. These laws go beyond using a bathroom that closely identifies with how one views their gender. These laws make it impossible to enjoy freedoms as an LGBT person in America and effectively scurries LGBT people out of areas common for Americans and back into the dark recesses of society.
That’s so loving and so Christ-like. Frankly, I am embarrassed and hate to call you who support these things Christians. I have to come up with another term. “Jerk” will do for now.
“Christian” is a term that I wish hadn’t stuck way back in Antioch. The most vocal representation of the faith (American Christians) have perverted what it means to be a Christian. It’s a sick joke when it’s used in this country because it is thought of as political instead of apolitical, which is how Jesus was/is. Laws condemn and lead to punishment and death. Laws can’t change hearts or behaviors. Love can. Love does. Laws can’t win souls. Love can. Love does. Love changed ancient people in Antioch so much that they earned a nickname because of how they loved and lived – caring about the least of those around them, loving people unconditionally, not judging, not causing division or strife, offering hope, minding their own business, etc. We seem to have forgotten how to do these things in Western Christianity.
Maybe if the faith had never turned political it would be better off, so to speak. It’s really sad that the possible slanderous name that they turned into a badge of honor is being used as originally intended today.