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Chapter 2 - What is a Christian?
Several years ago I was on a business trip to Japan. I asked a gal there if she had ever considered Christianity. She replied that she had felt bad several times in her life but not bad enough to try religion. I had not considered that one would see a religion as something to be used by the weak and injured as a palliative.
Since then I have observed many ways Christianity is practiced as a religion that seems at odds with Christianity as a faith. Perhaps the most common is the number of people who were raised in a particular Christian denomination and practice it in a similar way as someone who has not even heard of Jesus who celebrates Christmas as a cultural or familial tradition.
In conversation with a Lutheran pastor once he told me that they lost about 85% of their youth. I suspect that 75% were never Christian at all and 10% if they were Christian found nothing of value in the church. That perhaps a majority of people in churches are not even Christian can account for the difficulty those who are Christian have is finding something worthwhile about Christianity.
There was a nurse named Glenda once who had been abused as a child. She had planned on committing suicide one evening after having secured enough medication to be successful. Upon leaving the hospital that evening she happened upon a bible tract and became a Christian that evening instead killing herself. She started going to a church in her neighborhood. She said in a few months she went from thinking she was the only one who did not know about Jesus to thinking she was the only one who did. It may have been that her unique experience made her Christian faith seem more vital and alive. However, it also may be possible that the people in her church were legacy followers of the Christian religion,
My parents were raised in a legacy church perhaps in effect similar to the average Hindu or Muslim worship center. They may have had faith but for all intents and purposes it benefited them little. A church whose members seem little different than those of other religions or even those having no religion might be expected to provide little benefit to their members.
If my parents had an image of what a real Christian looked like, they might have had a chance to try to imitate it. Christ is usually held up as our example, but with no instruction as to how that can be achieved. As a result, most do not even try. The main problem is that while a person becomes a Christian by trusting in Jesus, living like Jesus can take a lifetime to approximate.
There are two types of Christian. The first are those who conduct their lives in the flesh and appear no different than non-Christians. They can even appear worse as the difference between what is espoused and how one lives leaves them open to the charge of “hypocrite”. The second (much smaller) group are those who have made some growth in their faith and often are less noticeable.
My parents were told that their church members were Christian even though most were not and of those that were, most lived lives showing that they were not following Christ. As a result, they could not be expected to even know what a Christian was.
Information about Christianity and the Christian life.
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