When the parents of my daughter’s friends discovered the other day we were Christians, they asked if we were “happy-clappy or Songs of Praise”. An interesting way of defining the term ‘Christians’ we thought to ourselves.  In fact, it was also intriguing how “proper Christians” (as we were also described) are viewed.  It’s either one type or the other apparently.  Even more fascinating to me was how far this is all broken down once you are ‘on the inside’.

Let me explain.  If I wasn’t a follower of Jesus and I was looking in on the Twitter feeds of Christians, I would think several different things about who Jesus really is by the way people talk about him.  And it gets far more complex than Songs of Praise or rainbow strapped guitars. At the very least, I would think Jesus is somewhat more concerned or defined by some causes and ideologies rather than others.  Examples might be:

  • Jesus the socialist (I find Tory Christians tend to be less vocal about their politics on Twitter)
  • The feminist (Ditto masculists as above)
  • The romantic (going by comments about worship)
  • The radical anarchist
  • The pentecostal
  • The cessationist (i.e. strange fire)
  • The new monastic
  • The abolitionist
  • The contemplative
  • The pacifist
  • The creationist (more vocal on Twitter)
  • The evolutionist (mostly keep their heads down on Twitter)
  • The environmentalist
  • The petrol head (added that one for my own sake)

In fact, when I talk to some people or read certain blogs, they often define their own walk of faith via a particular cause, often at the exclusion of other ideologies or positions. For example, “I’m a pacifist Christian.”

That’s all well and good but I start to feel a bit miffed when people go on to say something like, “Jesus was a pacifist” or “Jesus was a socialist”, or any of the above actually.

I’m not going to argue the case over any of those issues, that is not the point of this piece.

But I guess I want to ask the question: “Do we talk about Jesus as King enough?”  Or do we rather talk about the Jesus of our own cause or particular emphasis ahead of that?

Now don’t read into this anymore than what is here.  I’m not saying those causes aren’t valid.  I may not agree with them all but that’s irrelevant.  One thing I’m sure we can all agree on is that Jesus is King and that one day every knee will bow to him.  More than that, I hope we can agree that this is a major thrust of the Christian message and that our lives need to be surrendered to him.  The issues and causes we are passionate about come about because the Holy Spirit has burned a cause or calling in our hearts and lives.  That’s fantastic and as it should be.  Faith without works is dead.  And a Christian without a passion for justice or without desire to see the world changed is like naan bread but without the curry.

In the process of choosing which causes we ultimately care about, let’s make sure the primary and overriding message is that of Jesus and the need to surrender our lives to him.  I fear that if we don’t, then the danger is that we are just seen as people who care about moral frameworks or beliefs.  Good and right though that is, it’s not the point is it?  Call me old-school but when I read the Bible I see bad news as well as good news.  I wish that wasn’t true, but it is.  Let’s make sure that we give people a valid opportunity to hear the gospel as well as hear the causes and passions we care about most.

(picture via Wikimedia Commons)

Written by Carl Beech // Follow Carl on  Twitter //  CVM

Carl heads up Christian Vision for Men, a national movement focused on introducing men to the Church. He has been married to Karen for 19 years and has two daughters, a dog, a cat and apparently a hamster! He enjoys sporting challenges and has in the last few years cycled from Lands End to John O' Groats, Calais to Nice and the length of Italy - all in under 9 days.

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