Christian vs Christ-follower

There’s an interesting Christian vs Christ-follower debate going on in Christian (or should that be Christ-following) circles just now.

It seems to be an attempt to reclaim the message and person of Jesus of Nazareth — Jesus the Christ, Jesus the Messiah — from popular Church culture. A refocus on what following Jesus is really about.

Christianity is about

  • a personal relationship with Jesus
  • putting Jesus first in everything you do
  • following Jesus in your every day life, in everything you do
  • demonstrating who Jesus is by the way that you live your life, the way that you speak, the respect that you give others

Christianity is not about

  • focusing on the external signs of living in the Church sub-culture (e.g. wearing WWJD wrist bands, listening only to Christian bands like Delirious?
  • simply attending Church week-in-week out
  • simply believing without putting your faith into action (see Epistle of St James for details)

It’s not about how you look on the outside (wearing the right clothes to go to church), it’s about offering who you are on the inside to Jesus.

Caveat

And while there is something good and healthy about this drive — anything that truly helps people to reconnect their relationship with Jesus has to be a good thing — I wouldn’t want folks to get the message that everything about the current Church culture is bad; that all Christians who attend Church do not try to follow Jesus closely.

There is a wealth of riches in the Church today, some of which get obscured sadly by emphases on buildings, committees, ‘flavours’ of worship and at worst scandal.

So much of what can be regarded as church traditions are simply frameworks for helping us to engage with God; like windows to look out of onto one particular aspect of who God is. The problem is when you stop looking through the window and start staring at the window itself.

I’m a Christ Follower (Mac vs PC parody)

Here are a few video examples of what I’ve been clumsily trying to describe. The following are made by Community Christian Church in Chigago.

  • I’m a Christ Follower Pt.1 (Books)
  • I’m a Christ Follower Pt.2 (Suit)
  • I’m a Christ Follower Pt.3 (jPod)
  • I’m a Christ Follower Pt.4 (Holy Spirit Hard Drive)
  • I’m a Christ Follower Pt.5 (Church planter)
  • I’m a Christ Follower Pt.6 (Counselling)

Christian vs Christ Follower

The following YouTube clip comes with the following disclaimer:

The purpose of this video is not, in any way, to create division. It is not intended to say that Christianity is bad or that all Christians are bad.

The intent was to say that following a set of Christian ideals or traditions without Christ being the true focus, following Christianity rather than following after Christ himself, is not what a relationship with Christ is all about.

(Christian vs. Christ Follower on YouTube.)

Your thoughts?

I’d be interested to hear your thoughts about these videos.

I’ll read them after I get back from Church, where I’ll be wearing my WWJD wristband under my cassock-alb and quietly singing Delirious? songs under my breath during the hymns! 😉

Miss South Carolina

This isn’t new but it is funny; it’s been doing the rounds on YouTube and Facebook for the last couple of weeks.

The background

In the final round of the Miss Teen USA 2007 competition the five remaining contestants had to answer a question from one of the judges, picked at random. The answer could be no longer than 30 seconds.

The question

First up was Miss South Carolina, who was asked the following question by Aimee Teagarden:

Q: Recent polls have shown a fifth of Americans can’t locate the U.S. on a world map. Why do you think this is?

A fair enough question, you’d think. Not the easiest question, but then neither is it the hardest either by any stretch of the imagination.

You might expect the answer to include a comment about education, about America’s media being fairly self-focused and not reporting much about anything beyond its borders … apart from the Iraq (sic), perhaps.

The answer

Here’s her answer in full:

I personally believe that U.S. Americans are unable to do so because, um, some people out there in our nation don’t have maps and, uh, I believe that our, uh, education like such as in, uh, South Africa and, uh, the Iraq and everywhere like such as, and I believe that they should, uh, our education over here in the U.S. should help the U.S., uh, or should help South Africa and should help the Iraq and the Asian countries, so we will be able to build up our future, for our ch…”

She was so going to finish by saying “… for our children”, wasn’t she!

The commentary

And now over to American comedian, writer and talk show host Jimmy Kimmel’s commentary on her answer:

Final word

I really want to be fair to her and offer some kind of defence of her answer, but … well, I’m not even sure OJ Simpson’s lawyers could offer a positive spin on that performance. It really was a stream of conscience poured out into 30 seconds of prime-time TV footage.

On NBC’s Today programme she offered this:

Personally, my friends and I, we know exactly where the United States is on a map. I don’t know anyone else who doesn’t. If the statistics are correct, I believe there should be more emphasis on geography in our education so people will learn how to read maps better.

What am I? What am I?

What would really happen if your toys came to life? This short film (4 minutes 54 seconds) tries to answer that very question.

This made me cry with laughter. A lot.

Bits of it made Jane laugh too, although at the end of it she said that she thinks I’ve got a weird sense of humour.

Certificate 15WARNING: There is some swearing at the end of this short movie. By swearing I mean they use the word “f*ck”. Quite a bit. If it offends you: don’t watch it.

Thanks to James for pointing me to this.

Fish and Marillion

I spotted this YouTube video on Ricky’s blog.

It would appear that for one night only (The Market Square, Aylesbury, 25 August 2007) Fish had a new backing band!

I feel that Anthrax could have gained a lot from that approach to playing with former singers; I’ve made my views clear elsewhere. I’m just sad that a great band like Anthrax have lost a great singer like John Bush.

In other news: lucky Ricky also won tickets in the Planet Rock Fish competition, and managed to get to his exclusive gig in Edinburgh last night; check out his review.