Let me just say up front, I’ve never been a big proponent of the angry “Keep Christ in Christmas” movement. I delete the fired up email forwards my older relatives send each holiday season, and I try my best to not grab my torch and pitchfork every time someone shortens the name of the holiday to Xmas. My family knows why we celebrate Christmas, and they also know that everything from the decorated tree to the actual date on the calendar has absolutely nothing to do with the baby in the manger. I’m also not one to freak out when some local jurisdiction upholds the separation of church and state, and my kids get gifts from the Easter Bunny even though that weekend we’re celebrating the resurrection of our Lord and not painted eggs.
But with all of that said, I recently had a conversation that centered around Christianity that I found eye opening and honestly a bit depressing. I was discussing a few Christian blogs with a non-Christian friend when that friend said, well, I could be a Christian blogger.
To recap, this friend is not a Christian.
I know that he was partially kidding, but the point was made nonetheless. The common denominators among these blogs appeared to the unchurched to include a focus on intentional living, the desire to live in the moment, a movement away from the fast pace of this life towards the importance of time with family. It seems to some that Christian bloggers belong together because they’re homeschoolers or whole food eaters or frugal lifestylers or essential oil rubbers or TV unpluggers or the God version of the self-help life coaching movement.
I’m here to say loudly that the greatest common denominator – the only universal denominator in fact – among Christians is Christ.
While there are Christians that eat mac and cheese out of the blue box and Christians who eat no processed foods, those who homeschool and those of us praying that these snow days will end and the government will take our children back for 7 hours a day, there are no Christians who haven’t taken Jesus as their Lord and Savior, the Son of God, the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecy, the forgiver of our sins, and the path to eternal life. Not really, anyway. Not Christians who have gone beyond typing some version of “woman of faith” or “friend of Jesus” on a blog about page to become actual followers of Christ.
I walked away from this Christian blogger conversation feeling sad. One of my favorite songs from my church camp days says, “They will know we are Christians by our love,” and I’ve always put a lot of stock in that. I believe that I’ve been blessed so I can be a blessing to others. I believe that much of the love I feel for others stems from the grace I have received from God. I know that the Word of God says so much about the way Christians are called to live, but it also says this:
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.” - Ephesians 2:8-9
If the message we, as Christians, have sent to the non-Christian world is that we are Christians because of the good we do or the way we live, then I believe we are failing. It is rather that we have chosen our paths in life because we are Christians, followers of Christ. It’s not and cannot be the other way around.
I have no problem with Christian blogging including life coaching. I love that it often includes fun printables and healthy recipes and money saving tips. Heck, let it include product reviews and travel advice and decorating slideshows! And look at my blog – one completely without focus that just happens to be written by a Christian.
But when we begin to paint a picture of who we are and what we do as what makes us Christian, we have set up Christianity itself to fail. After all, it’s Romans Chapter 3 that reminds us that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.
All but one. So let’s make sure that he stays front and center in the religion that bears his name.