"WHAT?!" you may be thinking. If you know me or have even read my profile you know that I am a Messianic Christian. At least, that's what I'm calling myself for lack of a better term. But when I compare myself to mainstream, American, church attending Christians, the term just doesn't feel very accurate. Most of them celebrate Christmas and Easter and I don't. Many are very wrapped up in this man-made version of The Church, that I don't believe looks anything like the way Yeshua intended. Most are conservative Republicans, even if they don't agree with the party platform, because Republican is almost as much a religion as Christianity.
There's that word- Religion. Obviously, I'm painting broad stroke stereotypes and I'm well aware that they don't hold true for every person who calls themselves a Christian. However, this is the image that seems to be conjured up at the very mention of the word "Christian." It's all about Religion, gettin' religion, havin' a revival, hallelueah! Who can be more religious, build a bigger church, have a bigger congregation, control the political arena, other people's lives, and even other countries, in the name of God, amen!
Now, I'm really not critisizing my brothers and sisters in Yeshua. Not every church is like this and certainly not every individual Christian thinks this way. Most would agree that it's our relationship with Jesus that matters, and the rest is fluff. I'm just pointing out that this is the way non-Christians see us, and they didn't pull this image out of nowhere.
I'm actually quite embarrassed to call myself a Christian, given the less than stellar reputation Christians seem to have. Most often I'm embarrassed when I tell someone I'm a Christian, and it causes them to have a flash-back to their childhood where they recall getting beat with a belt in the name of God. Some non-Christians immediately think of people holding signs that say "God hates you. You're going to Hell." If the person worked in a restaurant they are sure to have experienced the Christians who don't tip on Sundays, but leave a tract instead.
Most people are reasonable enough to recognize that not all Christians have the same beliefs about... well... anything outside of this general "beliving in the Bible" and those details are hotly debated. They recognize that we're all failible human beings regardless of title or affiliation. It still breaks my heart though, that the very word "Christian" can build up more walls between two people than it breaks down. Certainly not what Yeshua wants.
So, what to call myself? I'd prefer not to title it at all. What *it* is, is a relationship between myself and Yeshua with the Bible as a guide, a history, a revelation, a glimpse into the heart of Elohim. How can a word describe a relationship?