The concept is this: I like church, and I like calling myself a Christian.
After reading trendy church literature like Rob Bell, Don Miller and countless others I couldn't help but noticing this theme. We don't like to be called Christians. Even my favorite band Switchfoot said they weren't specifically a "christian" band because they wanted to reach everyone, even though their music is about God and they're all believers. There are even books (good books- i have read) like They like Jesus but not the church. Which, as you can guess, is about a cultural acceptance of Jesus and denial of his Bride, the church, or his followers CHRIST-ians.
Here's their argument: Many people know have had terrible experiences with the "church" or maybe have been abused (that's a FAVORITE example of all these writers) by someone who is a Christian. They may see Jesus as directly associated with this mistreatment and wont have anything to do with it. So if we say, rather, that we are "followers of Jesus" rather than the dreaded, hated Christian, well then problem solved. they will want to be Jesus followers too. We will win some for the kingdom and appear more trendy by throwing off that old legalistic term "Christian" and say "Man, I just follow Jesus." We don't even have to go to Church, we can go to "gatherings" where we drink starbucks and discuss the sermon on the mount.
But here's the real fear:
The fear is a culture that hates Christianity. The fear is that people won't like us, people will get angry at us, people will laugh at us. That if we claim to be Christians we have to live up to this standard that is Christ that we will continually fall short of. The scary thing is that if you say you're a Christian than even the worst skeptics expect you to live like Christ.
And worse- if you go to Church you encounter YOUR NEIGHBOR. that frightening creature who smells and sings much too loud on the songs he knows and talks about only the most boring subjects. You'll have to deal with people who are mean, vengeful, hurtful and not very trendy. it's not easy. It's not easy at all.
The worst part is, Jesus warned us about this. He tells us we will be despised and rejected for him, and asks us to live in harmony with one another, which we know means there was already disputes in the early church.
It is very true: people don't like Christians. It is much safer to say you are a "Jesus follower" and therefore somehow excused from the pressures of what it might mean to carry on the legacy (with all it's future glory and also all of it's meaningless depravity) of being a Christian as there have been Christians for 2,000 years. It is difficult to wake up on Sunday Morning and dress nice and go sit next to people that you may not like but are commanded to love. It is indeed, very difficult to be a Christian.
But I am not afraid to bear the name.