Saturday, January 20, 2007


What am I? Really interesting discussions around mayBe at the moment in our naming cycle. At the conversation around the community meal this week we realised that, for some of those mayBe people who see themselves as wanting to follow in the way of Christ, there are nevertheless mixed feelings around about being referred to as Christians. Because of the stuff - the perceptions, the misrepresentations and the baggage - that seem to go with that name. We want to qualify it. Add a long explanation of what that means to us. Or say something like "tell me what you mean by that term, and I'll tell you whether that's me". For me personally I'm happy with the shorthand of the term, honoured even to be asked to carry it - but also I want to put something into the mix about the idea of movement and orientation. I guess what I am trying to do each day is BECOME Christian. Some days I get a little closer to that possibility, on others my attempts are shambolic. Good thing that God's love is the ultimate reality, not my attempts to be whatever.


bigdaddystevieB said...

Thanks for this Ian. Again put me in mind of words from Peter Rollins' book “How (Not) to Speak of God” (how many times does this book KEEP coming up!?). He refers to the traditional concept of a person “being” a Christian and “joining” a Church but goes on to talk about our need to acknowledge that all of us on this journey are in the process of "becoming Christian" and "becoming Church" - and I think that's how it feels for me too.
I particularly liked the following from the book: “For too long the Church has been seen as an oasis in the desert – offering water to those who are thirsty. In contrast, the emerging community appears more as a desert in the oasis of life, offering silence, space and desolation amidst the sickly nourishment of Western capitalism. It is in this desert, as we wander together as nomads, that God is to be found. For it is here that we are nourished by our hunger”. Mmmm.... "what am I?" indeed!

ian said...

Thanks Steve. Yep you are so right about Pete Rollins. I keep going back to his book and getting inspired again.

Sarcastic Lutheran said...

I struggle with this as well. There are times when what people mean by "being a Christian" is actually antithetical to what I vision "being a follower of Christ" means.
I refuse to allow the former to alone define the term.

MM said...

I appreciate your thoughts about becoming vs being and their dialectical relationship. By confessing "I'm becoming ____ " humility and failure is implied and hypocrisy is thus disarmed. Makes me think of my wedding vows and how when I made them I was both confessing the covenant I would keep AND my inability to keep it perfectly (but always aspiring and growing and seeking to be the husband I know I ought to be).

I've found your blog through mayBe's website - a website that has funded my imagination for faithful living in my church community in Los Angeles, CA. Thanks for sharing your structures, ideas, and values - they've been helpful and formative.


effie said...

hello Abbot.
when people ask me what i am i have started to say an 'aspiring Christian' (trying and failing). i think it was Maya Angelou who said, in response to someone declaring themselves to be Christian, "what? already?!"

redemption's forever taking place,