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What Is It To Be A Christian?
September 18, 2019, 1:00 PM

We find various ways to answer that question. Some say simply it is a confession of faith in Jesus, and that certainly helps to narrow it down. Some say it is marked by Baptism, and that clearly helps for one’s belonging to church. Some say it is more private and personal, and that helps to see an individual’s dependent relationship upon God revealed in Jesus. Some say it a lived life that speaks to the Way of Jesus, and the Holy Spirit with the fruit of the spirit in Galatians 5:22-24 “Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control, there is no law against things like this. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the self with its passions and its desires.” The picture of being Christian fits well with the BE-Attitudes and the Sermon on the Mount.

Life in Church allows the believer a way of conversation, dialogue, learning, worship, and service. I was reminded of this reading an author who has been Right, then Left, and now Center in politics. He cites Adam Hamilton who is described as “Radical Center.” I found the following paragraphs from Hamilton worth pondering as he shows his own faith shaped by a wider view of Christian faith. I also feel he demonstrates the Fruit of the Spirit in this time of polarization.

In his book Seeing Gray in a World of Black and White, Adam Hamilton says:

“When people ask me, “Are you liberal or conservative?” my answer is usually, “Yes!” My answer is yes for several reasons. First, I see both liberals and conservatives as two parts of a whole. When we say that someone is liberal with their giving, we mean that he or she is generous. I want to be liberal in that sense of the word. If liberal is defined as “favoring reform,” that, too, captures my heart as Protestant, because it recalls one of the important Reformation slogans “ecclesia reformata, semper reformada:” “the church reformed, always reforming.” If liberal is a synonym for “broad minded’ or “open minded” then yes, I wish to be a liberal! Yet if “conservative” means holding on to what is good from the past, and being cautious in embracing change simply for the sake of change, then mark me conservative! If being conservative within the Christian community means retaining the historic doctrines of the Christian faith as articulated in the creeds, then I am conservative. If conservative means as the Latin, conservare does, guarding, keeping, or observing (presumably the treasures of the past), then at least with regards to many things, I must be conservative. On the other hand, if liberal means holding to the absolute right individuals to do whatever they choose, or if conservative means simply seeking to maintain the status quo, I could not be defined as either liberal or conservative.”

What answer would you give to describe your own relationship to Jesus, to Church, and to the World? Has it changed over time? Jesus prayed in John 17 “that all may be one.” Obviously we are different from each other, but we do have a belonging to one another in Christ.

May it be so, 

Pastor Don



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