What’s in a Name?

Many of the numerous labels for identifying specific types of Christians and Christianity have never felt right on me. Being raised in a non-denominational community (as opposed to the Non-Denominational community) bred a dissatisfaction with any name other than “Christian” no matter how useful it may be at times to choose a buttonhole of my own for the sake of discussion. In more recent years, I’ve tried on “follower of Jesus” and “believer” as a way to distance myself from negative connotations that have been attached to the name “Christian” in Western culture…and even in the Middle East where I live.

Here in the Middle East, people still see the West as “Christian” and themselves as “Muslim/Islamic”. The idea of a “Post-Christian” nation/culture is inconcieveable. To them, Hollywood is making Christian movies. Chew on that for a minute. The point of view expressed by American media is Christian as far as they’re concerned. This makes sense since everything in their corner of the world is ordered according to their understanding of Islam…or at least the understanding of Islam which those in power have. Western values are Christian values in their eyes. Here, being a Christian doesn’t align you with the Savior of the World but rather with the evil West or even the “Great Satan”. As a result, whenever it’s appropriate (which isn’t often) I try to avoid the term “Christian” in favor of something that will more clearly and immediately identify that my loyalties are with the Kingdom of God and not the West.



Filed under Religion

2 responses to “What’s in a Name?

  1. But surely there is much good that the Christian faith has done for and in the West that you wouldn’t want yourself disassociated with, correct? Wouldn’t it be more appropriate to say that what is happening in Hollywood, for instance, is godless and anti-Christian, and that most Christians in the west are appalled by it? This seems like a more honest answer.

  2. amtog

    I understand your point and agree somewhat. The problem is that once the term “Christian” is invoked, the walls go up, the filters activate and such protests may not do much good.

    Christian was a name given to followers of The Way by outsiders, so I don’t feel that wearing it is necessary. The name that is necessary is Jesus and the folks around here have far better sentiments about His name than the term Christian.

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