What is a Christian?
It's been around over 2000 years and North America doesn't know the answer to that question. On Wednesday, April 4, 2007 Anderson Cooper's news show on CNN aired a program asking that question. Video clips of people praying, clapping, singing, being prayed for and falling over ran while the voice over baited the viewers and asked, "What is a Christian?" I must admit I was intrigued.
I'm not writing so much to prove what a Christian is. I am, however asking two other essential questions. 1. Why doesn't America know yet? 2. By what means do the people answering the question measure or what standard are they using?
Addressing the first question is important given the history of the nation and it's current post-modern climate. The U.S. Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, the writings of early presidents all have a certain harmony. From the Puritans that landed on the shores of New England to the last president who raised his hand and said, "...so help me God", these historical snapshots, like bookends, indicate that religion, God, yes, Christianity has and is there. Yet after all of that, America is still wondering what a Christian is?
I'm of the opinion that you can't always believe what you see on TV so why would a person look to a television show to find out. The issue here is of fundamentals. America is confused about what a Christian is, hence the CNN documentary about it. They've see the shows. They've been to the churches. Americans have watched the televangelists. All of them give a different message. All of them leave a different taste in their mouths.
So, what is a Christian one may ask? In Americanized religion it's anything you want it to be. What is a disciple? Ah, now there's a question that needs answering. Jesus said to go and make disciples. Radical, adamant followers of the teachings of Jesus. People who have a "Jesus agenda" and not their own. People who model and live out the mandates of Christ and not a religious organization's "vision" or purpose.
Now, hold on. Some people may be of the mindset that I am anti-church or anit-organized religion. I am not that at all. I am suggesting that we've had a couple of centuries to show people what Christianity is. I merely suggest that if America is asking us, the church, what a Christian is, to quote Ricky Ricardo, "we have some 'splaining to do."