Christian or Follower of Jesus?

Most of the time I just like to teach. Or point out some interesting or ironic observations. Or share something that (I hope) helps  people in their spiritual formation.

Then, sometimes I get into controversial things that cannot be explained in 300 words or less 😉

This may be one of those.

How do I describe myself?

I’ve just returned from a conference with an international focus. I count people from many cultures and many countries as friends (OK, maybe that’s a bit of a stretch, but I hope they are). I am aware of history and its impact on perceptions people have even to today.

While contemplating a completely different subject for this post, my thoughts focused on the differences between the person I was going to quote (see a future post, I’m sure) and me.

He’s not expressly a Christian–or maybe not even consciously one.

But, I sometimes have a little problem identifying myself that way. I have absolutely no problem identifying myself as a follower of Jesus. His words have penetrated deeply into me for what seems like my entire life. I want to be like him (as a disciple should), although even while writing this, I’m painfully aware of how far from that ideal I am.

I know people from the Middle East. I’m aware of the connotation that “Christian” often has. Instead of describing someone who lives such an attractive life that people want to be like them, the term often recalls savagery, genocide, exploitation. Even in Europe, “Christians” massacred each other for hundreds of years. No wonder that so many throughout the world don’t care to identify with the name.


The Acts 2 church grew because the people lived such extraordinary lives that they attracted those around them to Jesus.

Last week I met (English names, not theirs exactly) people like Daniel and Joe and others who are living that kind of life. They are in areas hostile to “Christians”, yet the example they set is so attractive that people from a diverse religious and cultural background are led to learn more about that unique person from 2100 years ago.

I’m little interested in knowing if you identify yourself as “Christian.” I am more interested in whether your life reflects how you are a disciple of Jesus. I just used a quote at the end of my Yoga class, “As I grow older, I am less interested in what men say. I just watch them and see what they do.”

At the end of every day we should ask, “What did I do today that proclaimed that I follow Jesus” and “What should I do tomorrow to show that I follow Jesus?”

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