Douglas Lobb, retired minister and former executive secretary of the National Association of Congregational Christian Churches, recently wrote about an increasingly challenging and vitally important term often used as a means of identifying oneself with the Way of Jesus: Christian (The Congregationalist, Dec. 2013, p.21-23). Relating his own experience, Lobb writes:
In the light of today’s Christian world, I find that I have great difficulty calling myself a Christian; because what is generally construed as Christian conduct is far from the teachings and life of Jesus. I prefer to simply say, “I am trying to follow Jesus, and I am finding that it is difficult” (p.22).
Like Lobb, I also tend to use other language to explain my religious identification. On Twitter and in other venues that value brevity, I tend to label myself a follower of the Way of Jesus or simply a follower of Jesus. Of course, I recognize that can be nearly as easily misconstrued as the broad label “Christian.” So, I often add clarifying words in advance of such including progressive, postmodern and post-denominational.
Do you think of yourself as a Christian or do you prefer to use a different term or phrase?
- If you opt for Christian, what, if any, hesitation do you have about the usage of this term and the baggage it may have for your hearers?
- If you opt for a different term, how did you come to the specific term you now prefer and what do you feel it more accurately conveys than would the term Christian?