I am a Christian. For most of my life I have identified with the Evangelical camp in the broader Christian world. At least, if I had to give a definition that most people would understand, I would tell them I was an Evangelical Christian. I’ve never been one that likes labels, but after considering many things that are currently connected with being an Evangelical, I began to realize that I am not very good at it. I am a hopelessly lousy Evangelical.
However, I suspect I am not alone. In fact, I think there are many of us out there. You may be one, too.
To help in determining this, I’ve compiled a very un-scientific list. If you can relate to any of these statements, you may be as hopelessly lousy at this as I am.
So, without further ado…
You may be a lousy Evangelical Christian if:
- Your view of God is so full of love, grace, mercy and perfect justice that it squeezes the Hell right out of the picture.
- You suspect that God is much more enraged with injustice and greed than with Adam and Steve.
- You have the audacity to vote for the candidate you think will do the best job and not for the candidate who leans most to the right.
- You would much rather hear a song by Lorde than a song about the Lord.
- You spend exactly 0% of your time worrying about the End Times.
- You don’t spend time worrying because you consider yourself a “Panmillennialist”: It’ll all pan out in the end.
- You don’t worry too much about whether or not the Bible is full of facts because you’re more interested in the fact that it’s full of Truth.
- You found nothing offensive or scandalous in the “Noah” movie.
- You thought the Rock Monsters in the movie were pretty cool, actually.
- You figure people who use the term “church shopping” are likely looking for a McChurch or a Church-Mart.
- You run the other way, screaming, when invited to see any movie with Kirk Cameron in it.
- You have read exactly 0% of the approximately 37 “Left Behind” books published.
- You were offended and scandalized by “The DaVinci Code”; not because of the content of the story but because the writing sucked.
- You have never been tempted to leave your church because of:
- A woman preaching/leading/using her gifts to help and inspire others
- An article written in your denominational magazine
- An opinion expressed different from your own
- Any doctrinal minutia that maybe might possibly in some circumstances be different from your own.
- The newfangled hymn books that were purchased.
- Guitars and/or drums and/or pipe organs and/or didgeridoos in worship.
- (Fill in any other reason here)
- You were never concerned that kids reading the Harry Potter books would all become witches or warlocks and fly on broomsticks or cast spells that made slugs come out of someone’s mouth.
- You actually really liked those Harry Potter books, to tell you the truth. And the movies, too.
- You wonder why we take ourselves so bloody seriously sometimes.
- You don’t need huge video screens, massive sound systems, professional praise bands, pyrotechnics, smoke machines, CGI, dramas, hip pastors with tattoos or light displays to feel closer to God.
- You sometimes feel that those couple of hours on a Sunday morning are much better spent elsewhere or with other people.
- You imagine that Jesus might be unwelcome in most Evangelical churches if he brought along his posse of secularists, prostitutes and ne’er-do-wells.
- You hear someone tell you to “Take Back the City for Christ” and wonder how He lost it in the first place if He’s, y’know, God and all.
- You fear that if Jesus was roaming around today, teaching and healing, his harshest words would be directed at us.
- You have felt far more inspired and encouraged after a simple coffee shared with a friend than after a dozen church-related activities.
- You wonder what all the fuss is about most of the time.
Did you find yourself anywhere on this list? If so, you may be struggling at this Evangelical Christian thing, too.
I want to follow Jesus. But after considering how badly I am doing at this, I think it’s time we had a new category for Christianity. Either that or it’s time to cast aside categories altogether and live and let live. Jesus was clear that it would be love that would be the defining characteristic of his followers. It sounds too simple but maybe we are guilty of making it too complicated. The first believers were called “followers of the Way”; Jesus has laid the path out and we’re to follow. It is we who’ve added the tons of baggage and trappings and rules and regulations and expectations and limitations to the deal. He put it so straightforward and unencumbered: “Follow me.”
I want to be able to do that free from labels, free from the shackles we put on others and on ourselves.
I just want to be known as someone who believes in, loves and follows Jesus. I might still be lousy at that but at least I’ll fumble along in joy instead of confusion.