How do you define your Christianity?

I write most often about aspects of Christianity—whether practical (probably more often) or doctrinal (when I have the spiritual courage).  Sometimes, it’s corrective and critical; other times, reflective or exhortatory or perhaps marginally inspirational.

In this whole, huge arena of Christianity, I acknowledge that some matters are grand and pervasive, and other things are not as consequential.  While the little things like bulletins and sequences and song content (and oral reading techniques and PowerPoint and the role of the preacher and clapping and labels and … ) do add up, every now and then, it’s good to take a step back to look at the whole of Christianity.

How is one’s life as a Christian defined?  What is the core?  What are the hallmarks?  When I am called on to describe myself to another, how do I think of myself in terms of Christianity?

  1. Am I “who I am” in Jesus because of the corporate worship style of my Sunday Christian group?
  2. Do I call myself “born again” (however biblically or a-biblically I might use that expression) and thereby distinguish myself from other believers?
  3. Do we define ourselves by the number of Christian programs and projects we’re involved in?  By the number of times per week we’re in the church building?
  4. In my case, I like to consider myself a Bible-based, Jesus-centric Christian, but does that aptly define Brian Casey, really?
  5. Someone I interact with regularly has a penchant for calling this person or that a “serious believer,” and I get what he means, but his idea of “serious believer” isn’t mine, exactly.

Although many of the above questions touch, at least lightly, on doctrine and its articulation, there are other ways to define a person doctrinally:

  1. Some subgroups in my own denomination define themselves by being (supposedly) doctrinally correct.
  2. Others in the larger Christian world define themselves by the particular limb off the trunk of the Christian tree they find themselves swinging from.
  3. Then there’s the ubiquitous conservative-liberal spectrum, which of course has both merits and limitations in pigeonholing people.

If I define myself primarily by my affiliation, I am to be pitied.

If I define myself by the chief doctrines to which I adhere, I am missing something bigger.  (Moreover, if I think I have every doctrinal sub-position nailed down and “know” I’m right on everything, I’m downright arrogant.  [This statement intentionally leaves no room for mercy for the next soul-step down Arrogance Avenue—the damnably egotistical person who calls himself infallible.])

Moving back an item now … the lion’s share of Christian-types identify ourselves primarily by our affiliation(s). It is insufficient, at best, to do so.  In the event of a regional or worldwide gasoline crisis in which no gas were available at all, how would the 99.3% of us who drive some distance “to church” define ourselves then?

If “church” as I know it were no more, could I really still be a Christian . . . simply by living?  By living for Jesus as I walked and as I swept the porch and as I invited my neighbors over for conversation and a glass of water?  Could I still be a Christian by virtue of my faith in Jesus as Messiah as I proceeded through daily tasks, and because of my Jesus-like ways?  Could I?