Derogatory Christianity

    I want to be a Christian — in the derogatory
sense of the word. 

    Not today’s version of derogatory, but the
original version.  Today’s derogatory Christianity is one that
speaks Christianeese, but lives a life of boredom, apathy, and
shallowness.  It talks of Jesus’ love and grace but then defines
who can receive that love and grace and by what means.  It wears
Christian T-shirts, drives an SUV with a fish on the bumper sticker while
listening to Contemporary Christian Music in a hurry to the Christian
Bookstore to buy tickets to a Christian Concert and pick up the latest
copy of  Veggie Tales for the little ones, but doesn’t notice how
the SUV they are driving is eating up valuable resources or how their
attitudes reflect anger, bitterness, and hate, or even think to stop
and help the poor single-mom on the side of the road with a flat tire
and three screaming kids in the back seat.   It talks of
evangelism but really means bringing “them” in here to be like
“us.”  (Is evangelism really equal to “getting people to
church?”)  Personally, I don’t think that the world is in need of
more “Christians” — at least the way we seem to be defining it today.

    I want my Christianity to be derogatory — the
kind of derogatory that brought the label up in the first place. 
“Christian” wasn’t a niche market or a voting block when it was used to
describe Jesus-followers in the first century.  It wasn’t an
isolated, irrelevant world view that tried to get other people to think
like, act like, and talk like them.  It was a word that was
inflammatory.  It was a word that meant — little messiahs, little
Christs.  “Look at them…those ‘little-Christs’…who do they
think they are?  They’re changing the world.  Messing things
up.  Making a difference.  How dare they?”  It was a way
of life… not a flavor that is pre-packaged, pre-mixed and poured on
top of everything
else.  It was people actually living out the Jesus-story in real
time.  It wasn’t a set of beliefs to be learned, a set of texts to
memorize, or a particular way of worshipping.  It was living the

    When I live the story, I become a derogatory
Christian.  When I choose love over hate, acceptance over
exclusion, grace over rules, then I become a derogatory
Christian.  I cause people to look at me like I’m just a little
off center (sometimes A LOT off center).  Jesus talked to
less-that-reputable women in the middle of the day — am I willing to
go to Hooters to show God’s love?  Jesus invited tax collectors to
join his team — am I willing to hire an ex-con?  Jesus touched
the leper — am I willing to hug the gay couple that’s checking out my
church?  Jesus called the religious leaders on the carpet — am I
willing to hold myself and others to His standard instead of the
standard of popular Christianity?  If I’m willing, he calls me to
follow.  Live the story — don’t just wear the bracelet or the
T-Shirt.  The question is not WWJD but What Is Jesus Doing through
and in me. 

    I can’t settle for just being a Christian. 
I want people to sneer when they say it (particularly those that have
settled).  I want people to be amazed that I’m willing to put my
reputation on the line.  Or in the words of Paul, ” I want to KNOW Christ…” 

Vive la revolution!


~ by Chris Green on March 21, 2005.

3 Responses to “Derogatory Christianity”

  1. That’s what its all about it isn’t it? Getting off our cushy little church pew and getting down and dirty with the same folks that Christ was willing to associate with! I even drive the dreaded SUV! But I pray that my eyes will open more and more to the way Jeuse would have me be! Thanks for the reminder

  2. I know what you mean man. I understand why I am not contagious to others due to the apathy that over takes me.

  3. I like the idea of being a derogatory Christian. Christians are called to have the utmost respect for people who are “different,” whatever different is. When we become courageous disciples and associate with the poor and the down and out we will meet Jesus in their faces and see Jesus in their eyes. I have a feeling that many among the church establishment will react pretty much like the Pharisees did in Jesus’ day. Sounds fun!! It’s time that we just demonstrate the love of Jesus in every way we can to whoever we can and not burden people with a bunch of so-called Christian rules. God will do the transforming.

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