Has anybody ever said this to you: “Some of the best Christians aren’t!” Someone said that to me a couple of days ago. I was telling him about a wonderful CD I’d heard (Annie Lennox’s) and remarked that it might just be the best Christmas CD I’ve ever heard from a popular artist. And, I said, she’s not even a Christian. That’s when he said, “Some of the best ones aren’t!” Now my point was that she made this great album of Christmas carols and it’s really beautiful. And I just thought it was a little ironic that she didn’t really mean it. I mean, she means it in a way but not in a Christian way, since she’s not a Christian.
And that brings me to a point I want to ponder: what is a Christian? Is it someone who tries to be nice? To be good? Or is it someone who is trying to follow Christ? And can one follow Christ without following Him? I mean, can one follow Christ by following someone else who is not Christ and who is also not a Christian? (I’m thinking here of folks who tell me that they are Christian and Buddhist or some such nonsense. It’s like saying I’m a vegetarian but I eat steak too.)
Maybe you’ve heard people say these things and maybe it doesn’t bother you. But, well, it’s the utter meaninglessness of the statement. Absolutely and utterly meaningless. A Christian is a Christian, Christ-ian, someone following (more or less successfully) to follow Christ and obey Him. Whether or not we succeed is not the point. The point is that we are trying. And to be technical about it, to be a Christian means to be baptized into the Body of Christ, the Church, not just engaging in wishful (and woolly) “positive” thinking or being “nice”.