By John Smulo https://web.archive.org/web/20070113015154/http://johnsmulo.com/
Words have meaning because we give them meaning. Sometimes particular words lose meaning. Other times they take on new meanings that are loaded.
“Christian” is a word that has several meanings depending on the context in which it is used, and who is using it.
Below you will find a list of reasons why I struggle with the term “Christian” to represent faith in Jesus.
1. Because it has a lot of historical baggage.
2. Because it raises a lot of hurt for many people.
3. Because people think they have “Christians” all figured out.
4. Because it’s become a stereotype, even if often a painfully accurate one.
5. Because the kind of Christianity I’ve read about (see below) has different connotations than “Christian” implies.
6. Because it provokes anger in many people.
7. Because it often has little to do with Jesus.
8. Because it’s associated more closely with judgment than grace.
9. Because I’d rather use a term that causes people to ask questions, rather than giving them a box to put me in.
10. Because in popular culture it’s more associated with what “Christians” are against, than what they’re for.
11. Because it’s often inaccurately tied to other words such as “nation”.
12 Reasons Why I Prefer The Term “Jesus-Follower”
Here are some of the reasons why I normally refer to myself as a ‘Jesus-follower’.
1. It centers on Jesus.
2. It implies action.
3. It raises questions rather than answers.
4. It encourages further understanding and exploration.
5. It points others to Someone beyond myself to look to.
6. It suggests a journey rather than a destination.
7. It requires a dynamic, rather than static, context.
8. It agrees that there is room, if not a need, for A New Kind of Christian Follower.
9. It doesn’t have historical baggage, and unlike a more popular term, is less likely to cause angst and heart burn.
10. It fulfills what Jesus himself asked of people time and time and time and time and—well you get the point—again.
11. It is a conversation starter rather than stopper.
12. It exhorts relationship, interaction, and partnership.
The kind of Christianity I’ve read about
What happened to a Christianity that was for the poor, instead of the middle-class?
God blesses those who are poor and realize their need for him, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.
What happened to a Christianity that was for those without happy-smiley-faces?
God blesses those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
What happened to a Christianity that didn’t demand it’s rights in the public square?
God blesses those who are humble, for they will inherit the whole earth.
What happened to a Christianity that sought justice for the least of these?
God blesses those who hunger and thirst for justice, for they will be satisfied.
What happened to a Christianity full of mercy, grace, compassion, and love?
God blesses those who are merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
What happened to a Christianity without mixed motives and deep simplicity?
God blesses those whose hearts are pure, for they will see God.
What happened to a Christianity that wasn’t tied to wars of words and tanks?
God blesses those who work for peace, for they will be called the children of God.
What happened to a Christianity that was persecuted for having a dream of a better world for others?
God blesses those who are persecuted for doing right, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.*