Saturday, March 28, 2009

#19 Calling Themselves "Followers of Jesus"


White Christians currently find themselves with quite the dilemma. The term "Christian" seems a little outdated and just doesn't quite communicate to others which faith they adhere to, so they long for a more appropriate label. No, this is not related to their denomination - Presbyterian, Lutheran, Christian Reformed, etc., though non-denominational white Christians are especially prone to struggling with this conundrum.

Young white Christians seek a way to cast off the stigma of being a Christian, while still remaining one. They hem, they haw, but with the dawn of social networking sites, white Christians must decide once and for all whether their online profile should tell the world that they are "Christian," "born again," or, the increasingly popular choice: "Follower of Jesus." No one chooses "evangelical" - white Christians aren't really sure what this term means, let alone if they belong to this group.

"Christian" seems very non-inclusive in this day and age and the likes of Jimmy Carter and Jerry Falwell have poisoned the "born again" well - leaving "follower of Jesus" as the only viable option for the white Christian. Being a follower of Jesus automatically distances the white Christian from all of the unpleasant perceptions about white Christians. The follower of Jesus no longer has to apologize for the Crusades, "Bible-belt people", or the passages in the Bible non-Christians find distasteful.



SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

6 comments:

Luther Zwingli said...

got to be honest- "Evangelical" is definitely a blur of denominationial categorization to me.

Peter said...

"Follower of Jesus" cuts through the crap: the politics and the preconceptions.

It's not just white people who take this name. It's also taken by Christian Arabs and Persians who know that their Muslim neighbors believe Jesus was a prophet (and is therefore respected), but believe that "Christians" are hedonistic followers of satan.

So more than just a fun way for racists to label white people, "follower of Jesus" is also a nifty way for Arabs to ensure that they won't be slaughtered by their neighbors.

Luther Zwingli said...

Interesting insight.

Anonymous said...

I also enjoy the "Christian- It's not a religion, it's a relationship" line.

Excuse me, but I believe that that Christianity just might be categorized as a religion. Correct me if I'm wrong...

Anonymous said...

I had not heard this "Follower of Jesus" line....perhaps that is because it is new terminology and I officially left the churchy 4 years ago....however, though I am no longer a Christian, I think I might just fall into the category of follower of Jesus. Jesus was a pretty enlightened prophet with lots of wonderful moral directives. Most of the problems I have are with his successors and what they turned him into.

Anonymous said...

From the comments above, you can clearly see why "Follower of Jesus" or the ever popular "Christ Follower" fails. Identifying oneself as Christian can be problematic enough, but at least it is biblical.

The issue with "Follower of Jesus" is it is a description of an action, not of one's identity. As Christians we are identified as part of a family, as "Followers of Jesus" you are just part of a troop.