Monday, August 30, 2010

They called them Christians

Acts 11:19-30

I wonder why the folks at Antioch decided the Christians needed a name. Was it the believers themselves who came up with it, or the other folks in town describing what they saw? And what did they see that made them need to call them something anyway?

It sort of reminds me of that old challenge - - "If you were on trial for being a Christian would they have enough evidence to convict you?"

How did these new believers live, what did they do, what did they say that warranted calling them Christians?

Turning to the Lord (v. 21) implies that they also turned away from something else. Believing is just a mental or internal activity, so they must have somehow lived different to make that belief obvious. I hope that someone can see enough in me to call me Christian; I hope that people who don't see me preach can see that I am a follower of Christ - - the one who welcomes and accepts outcasts, the one who forgives, the one who embodies mercy and divine justice, the one who enacts compassion, the giver of new and abundant life.

But could they call me Christian just with the actions I do? I don't think so. Someone who is already aware might be able to figure out that the actions I take are (hopefully) related to the Christ I worship, but without my words to back it all up it could just be good stuff I'm doing. Words without actions are empty, but actions without words are, too. I am usually timid to speak the language of my faith in my regular talk. I don't know why that is except I know that I don't want to be perceived as "one of those" pushy Christians. There's got to be a middle ground, though. There's got to be a place for my faith in my regular conversation that is authentic and not overbearing.

So, this is isn't my most eloquent writing, but oh well. Just some thoughts in my head that the Scripture stirred up.

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