Christian _______ (fill in the blank)

When I chose my undergraduate university, I picked a Christian school because I wanted to study the Bible and theology. Yet thinking back, I realize that my view of education was limited. I’d understood “Christian” purely in terms of content.

Jesus & the moneylenders

If the Kingdom of God is truly something that cannot be contained by Sunday mornings or a building but is the increase of the lovingly just reign of Jesus Christ, then it cannot be restricted to content. A Christian education is not just education about Christ and his Kingdom but education for Christ and his Kingdom.

I expect we all do this in different areas. Some may listen only to “Christian music” by which they mean that it is purely Christian content. Could there be music that does not contain Christian content, yet teaches us to love one another better, to appreciate beauty more deeply, and worship the Father more frequently?

We live in a culture that has taken Christian as an adjective that pertains to content rather than a way to live and see the world. As Christians, we ought to not be doing anything in a way that is not Christian. We ought to be eating, drinking, and sleeping as Christians. Our Christian faith pervades our lives and who we are. It goes far beyond content.

So why do we buy into the reducing Christian to a content label? Perhaps we feel like it takes the pressure off of us. If we are listening to Christian music, then we are doing the good Christian thing. If we are watching a Christian film, then we are being holy. The requirements are minimal; imbibe this “Christian” thing and you’re on your way. But to live in a Christian way requires something of us – it demands that we cooperate with the Spirit to be transformed into Christ-likeness.

This can be scary. Let’s be honest, we all know that the Spirit likes to get his (metaphorical) arms elbow-deep in our guts and move things around until we want to scream. Transformation, especially of the spiritual kind, is dirty, difficult and painful. More often than not, it requires sacrifice, and turning our eyes from the things that have become idols.

But if we allow the Spirit to do his surgery on us, maybe we will stop being dependent on the Christian label, and begin to live lives that are not just about Christianity but for Christ and his Kingdom.

Praying we all undergo the knife this week.

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2 thoughts on “Christian _______ (fill in the blank)

  1. I agree that Christianity ought not be reduced to an adjectival label, but I wonder what sort of language ought to replace it, if any. Maybe all we ought to do is talk about how our faith interacts with our other beliefs and activities but not label them. Hmmm…. You have given me much to think on Matt.
    Thanks for this post, I enjoyed it, as always.

    1. I’m not sure we need to necessarily replace it. I have no problem with Christian music in itself. The problem is when we begin to see the content as the only thing that makes something Christian, much as some would say that one’s doctrinal beliefs are the only thing that make a person a Christian. So I think we can still use “Christian” as an adjectival label but also I think you’re right – we do need to talk more about how our faith pervades our life.

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