What is a Christian Part I

Inside out posterI’m considering working through a series of posts pertaining to what it means to be a Christian. I am currently dancing in a show with Springs Dance Company, based out of London, called Inside Out. The show asks this very question. (We are also booking for schools, churches, community halls, etc. so if you’re interested, have a look at the info here.)

I was curious about some things to do with Islam a few months ago, and did some research online. In the process I found a very detailed website called Al-Islam.org, and it answered with very concise pages—and references to the Qur’an—all the questions I had. It was the first thing that came up when I searched “what is [topic].” As a result I decided to do the same thing for Christianity. I typed in “what is Christianity,” and I found no such website. I found a lot of random little websites that put forward different ideas of what being a Christian is, and how to become a Christian. I was disappointed to find that Christians neither agree, nor have a centralized website, nor make it sound easy, nor appealing.

I consider myself a follower of Jesus Christ. But if I was a non-Christian, I don’t think I would be interested in becoming a Christian after searching online about it.

You’ll notice that above I said that I was a follower of Jesus Christ. I suppose for convenience sake I could have said “I consider myself a Christian,” but I think that lots of people use that term to mean very different things.

Speaking to people I’ve heard a potpourri of different answers to the question: what is being a Christian/are you a Christian?

“Being a Christian is doing good deeds, and going to church.”

“I was born a Christian.”

“The main thing about Christianity is prayer.”

“It’s about loving God.”

I believe all the statements are wrong (or incomplete).

Several websites I found launched into thick theological terms and concepts that were about as clear as trying to unveil the 9 circles of reality in Buddhism (if you’ve ever read a paragraph about Buddhism you’ll know what I’m talking about; it’s complicated).

But if we could cut all the theological crap (sorry theologians) and talk in language that everyday people can understand, what would “being a Christian” look like?

My thesis is simple: I believe that being a Christian means following Jesus Christ. What does that mean? It means you have to get close enough to Jesus to find out, don’t you?

To be continued…

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About doctornogrod

Daniel Cossette is a writer, actor, dancer, and mime originally from CT, USA. He's been writing, producing, and acting in scripts since jr. high. At Mimeistry International, Pasadena, CA he double-majored in Mime and Theology. Afterwards he founded Ambassador Arts and produced the shows Say It Louder! and Christmivest, including all original stories; he danced with Ad Deum Dance Company, Houston, TX, and eventually moved to England where works with Springs Dance Company, and directs Infusion Physical Theatre. He is married to a long time friend from the mime school, and currently resides in Cambridge, England.
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5 Responses to What is a Christian Part I

  1. Nolak says:

    Now I’m going to be the part of point/counter point. Something to say keep in mind about the title of Christian. So I’ll share some thing about why it’s not the title anyone might want to express their beliefs.

    Those that have caused me the most damage in my life, both physical and emotional have been proud to call themselves Christians. I’m talking about some serious scars on both accounts. It wasn’t just one or two claiming the title of Christian, it’s a larger number than that, double digits large. The emotional damage inflected has effected my ability to trust people and even want to spend time with people socially.

    Some of the biggest hypocrites I have met in my life where people saying they where Christians. People who have cheated, stolen, back stabbed, lied, hurt among other various things that as Christians they shouldn’t be doing. Not only have they done this to me or in front of me but many other people as well.
    “The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today is Christians who acknowledge Jesus with their lips and walk out the door and deny Him by their lifestyle. That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable.”
    The history of people calling themselves Christian counters many people that could or would want to learn. To few grasp or practice what is in the bible. I’ve seen pastors wreck people so they could have what they saw as a better church all because that person actually practiced what he read in a respectful way.

    I don’t see a point in defending or defining what it is to be a Christian. There is so much negative and hurt attached to that title that you loose an audience by saying “I’m a Christian”. It’s become a dirty and negative word by the very actions of those that are Christians.

    • doctornogrod says:

      Nolak,
      Thank you for posting. That is exactly what the subsequent blogs hope to address. What is the point of calling oneself a Christian if you fail to follow the Bible–specifically Jesus Christ, who is the cornerstone of the Christian faith?

      I’m sorry you’ve been so mistreated by Christians. That is a terrible thing. It shouldn’t happen.

      I can’t erase the label of “Christian” from the world. It’s out there, whether or not you or I like it. But I wish people would be a lot more careful about how they apply it. If you want, you’re welcome to come back and interact with future blogs.
      D

  2. Nolak says:

    My end point would most likely be this. The title of Christian closes more doors than it opens. It makes more people back away from than deal with those that use the name. Stop clinging to a title that doesn’t work. So much damaged has been done by those under the title of Christian most people dont want to ‘ve around anyone that uses it. As an example, you cant start a positive helpful group that does all kinds of nice things and has great beliefs and call them Nazis. It doesn’t work. In many ways that is the simular problem with the title Christian. It no longer works and it’s working against you.

    • doctornogrod says:

      That may be.
      However, I think it’s going to be very difficult to get every nation’s government to change their census forms, and every church across the world to consider a name change.
      We’re probably stuck with the title “Christian.”
      Let’s just hope we can educate people to stop using the term when they are behaving decidedly un-Christian…

      • Nolak says:

        That is the problem. They believe they are Christian while acting unchristian. The two can no longer be seperated. They are more intertwined and associated than can be reasonablely corrected.
        You want a good impression and open doors, start something new and clean, something fresh. In some circles there are no differences between the evil of the Nazi party and the Christians. To much bad history.
        Why defend a title that is more associated with harm and evil than help and good?

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