Thoughts on  nature and the Christian faith  -  7/8/19

" And in Antioch the disciples were first called Christians."  -  Acts 11:26

We have several hostas growing in front of our home. They are one of a few plants that Jo and I have not managed to kill over the years. We definitely are far from accomplished gardeners, to put it mildly. But these hastas seem to grow and provide beauty in spite of our ineptitude. They received their name from the botanist Nichalas Host who, in the 1800's, devoted his life to the cultivation and understanding of these plants. And so, the plants became identified with the man and the man with the plants. When people thought of one, they thought of the other. And so it was with the first followers of Christ. When onlookers thought of the first disciples, they thought of Christ because the behavior of these followers mimicked the behavior of Christ. And, although the word "Christian" was probably first used as a term of derision, it became a title that the first disciples wore with pride. To be identified with their Master because their lives reminded others of the life of Jesus must have pleased those early followers as well as Christ himself. Times have changed. Today, the name "Christian" is all too often associated with narrow-mindedness, bigotry, intolerance, self-righteousness, and hatred. And sadly, these are labels we have earned. If Christ were to return and walk among us today, would others identify us with him? Or, more importantly, would he identify himself with us? The Christian faith today has become so institutionalized, so politicized, and so distorted that I wonder if Jesus would cast the same rebuke on us that he did on the religious leaders of the first century. The name others put on us is important, and what they think of when they use that name is more important still. If we wear the name of Christ but live nothing like Christ we have lost all right to wear his name. Names matter.  -  John