“Christian” is a lousy adjective

A Jewish lady answered a knock at her door. The young man asked her if she wanted her house painted. It needed painting, so she took his card. She noticed a fish symbol on the card and asked him what it meant. “It means I’m a Christian painter,” he said.

In my opinion, calling yourself a “Christian” anything presents two problems. First, no one has ever explained to me what a Christian is in Biblical terms. Any definition fails to capture what Jesus taught us about following Him.

And second, using “Christian” to describe a “painter” does not help me learn anything about the person holding the brush and ladder. Does a “Christian painter” paint differently from a “Catholic painter” or a “Muslim painter” or, “atheist painter”? The woman wanted her house painted. All she cared about was whether or not the guy could paint.

Too many times I think folks use “Christian” to describe their business to persuade their customers they’re more honest or ethical than “non-Christian” businesses. That somehow their “Christian business” ethics or integrity or quality of work is superior to their competitors who don’t flash a “Christian” label in their front window or on their business cards.

Too often we hear stories of bad experiences some consumers have with “Christian” businesses who flash their fish symbols then act just like the world in the market place. Those “Christian” business folks drive people away from The church and away from Jesus. One bad “Christian” business deal can destroy dozens of potential good business deals with authentic followers of Jesus who take Jesus to work every day.

Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men. Colossians 3:23

Authentic followers of Jesus don’t have to flash a “Christian” label to attract more customers, or to describe one’s integrity or character. Authentic followers of Jesus don’t have to convince others of their faith. The way we love others is all we need to bear witness to our integrity and our character.

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4 thoughts on ““Christian” is a lousy adjective

  1. Pingback: The Weekly Headlines – My Daily Musing – Br Andrew's Muses

  2. The real messiah, or ones true savior in this life is common sense, which comes from within and never from anything outside of oneself. The biblical figure known as ‘Christ’ made sense when He spoke to the people. Therefore, people followed Him not for absolution, miracles, free fish or bread but because he made sense. His words penetrated and bypassed their intellects and touched their hearts.

    Common sense is the adversary of those religious and political beliefs, which support dishonesty, duplicity, and corruption. Why was the ‘Christ’ framed and persecuted by religious leaders? Why was He put to death through political law even though Pontius Pilate said: (Book of Luke 23:22) ‘And he said to them the third time, Why, what evil hath he done? I have found no cause of death in him. I will, therefore, chastise him, and let him go.

    The spiritual implication of Pontius Pilate is: to bridge two bodies or to connect religion and politics. This is what is happening today in most countries and contributes to the planet’s self-destruction. Christ did not distribute five pieces of fish and some bread to feed 5,000 people. Rather, he tried to teach them how to fish for spiritual food so they wouldn’t be slaves any longer to the misguided religious beliefs of man, beliefs leading to behaviors that separate mankind from the Spiritual realm of whatever god they worship. True Spirituality can be found within the heart, never in the space between ones’ ears.

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  3. Well said Steven. Where does one start to truly represent the King and the Kingdom. While I agree with your analysis, I am mindful that it begins with me – as you say to love others with integrity and character. May our work glorify Him…

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