Re-branding Christianity

Gay-Sign

I’M FOR THE SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND HATE — a popular bumper sticker that speaks a volume of truth.

Every once in a while, it becomes necessary to refocus our sight. Who are we as Christians; what do we stand for; and what are we supposed to be doing? This has become increasingly hard to do and increasingly necessary in a society where Christians have become associated with causes that run far afield of what Jesus championed and the early church adopted. So much so, that before we can talk about what a Christian is, it becomes necessary to point out what a Christian is not, because the presuppositions formed by our culture will color everything else you try to say and do.

In effect, Christians have been branded by our culture, and in order to talk with Christians or non-Christians about what it means to follow Christ, it now becomes necessary to say, “It’s not that, it’s this.” It’s a lot like Christ’s statement, repeated often in the Sermon on the Mount, “You have heard it said…, but I say to you …”.

You have heard it said that a Christian is against abortion, anti-LGBTQ, in favor of the right to bear arms, and for their own religious freedom, but I say to you a Christian is a follower of Jesus and how His gospel relates to the deep, unresolved needs of any generation for love, meaning, community, peace, justice, and religious freedom in the public square for all religions and none. Big difference.

This is the advantage that Boomers have in regards to history. We can go back to our formative years during the Jesus Movement when our Christian faith was carved out of a fresh look at the New Testament church, and a freedom to forge new paths.

This is what Boomers can offer Millennials —  a long enough view back to where following Christ was not encumbered, as it is now, by false assumptions. To be sure we had our own misconceptions to fight (mostly legalism) — any generation does — but ours were not so well-known so we were free to make a new statement. This is why we talk now about setting out on a new path into a new frontier, and these are the things we want to talk about and foster whenever we can: love, meaning, community, peace, justice, and religious freedom for all religions and none. And to this list, I would add forgiveness and mercy, and, of course, grace and grace turned outward in an environment where all are welcome, for that is what we represent, the gospel of welcome.

I’m going to list these characteristics one more time here and ask you to get very familiar with them. Think of this list as a sort of litmus test with which to identify what is going on in the world in the name of Christianity. Not for the purpose of casting judgment, but for the purpose of saying, “Is it this, or is it that?”

We are basically re-branding Christianity.

The litmus test for true Christianity. Does it represent:

love?

meaning?

community?

peace?

justice?

religious freedom in the public square for all religions and none?

forgiveness?

mercy?

grace?

grace turned outward?

the gospel of welcome?

This entry was posted in new frontier, Worldview and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Re-branding Christianity

  1. Mark D Seguin says:

    Love this from Today’s Catch:
    “You have heard it said that a Christian is against abortion, anti-LGBTQ, in favor of the right to bear arms, and for their own religious freedom, but I say to you a Christian is a follower of Jesus and how His gospel relates to the deep, unresolved needs of any generation for love, meaning, community, peace, justice, and religious freedom in the public square for all religions and none. Big difference.” Amen!

  2. Lin Frank says:

    Once again John you nailed it. I finally left the springtime of my spirituality about 2 years ago. Keaton mentioned that in one of his books. Better late than never. Blessings and peace to you and your family. Thanks be to God for everything he does and says through you my friend. Did you receive my copy of Flipped?

  3. John A Fagliano says:

    Good list. The trick is to balance judgement with mercy and forgiveness, and our own religious freedom with the freedom of all religions and none. But with the help of the other things on the list it can be done.

    About today’s photo: I’m sure the guy’s sign doesn’t just say “You!” the way it appears to but I started thinking I would like it if it did. So many demonstrators make it about themselves. This guy is making it about me. If I saw that sign I would say “Thanks man. It’s all about you too!”

  4. drewdsnider says:

    I started backing off calling myself a Christian in about January 2017 (go figure). I prefer the term “Jesus Follower”, For one thing, the Christian “brand” has been damaged in just the way you say; for another, saying “I’m a Christian — but not like THEM” is tedious and tends to sound either apologetic or self-righteous.

  5. Gary Mintchell says:

    I’m with Drew. Thank you for the thoughts, John. You asked once about being a Christian and a Democrat (or liberal, I forget exactly). Well, I am pretty liberal and often vote D. But I’m definitely a follower of Jesus. What really got me into the church at all was the witness of many churches during the civil rights and anti-war movements back in the day.

    But I’m not really political too much anymore. Leading people in their spiritual formation seems to be not only rewarding to me, but to them, too.

    It’s along the same lines as a pastor I was working with who talked about how his entire Emmaus team took the Myers-Briggs to help them work together–and they were all FJs. I said that I was a TP. He exclaimed, “How can you be a Christian!” I guess we aren’t supposed to be either thinkers or perceptive.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s