Friday, June 25, 2010

Banish the term"Christianity"

Dan Merchant wrote, directed, produced, and starred in the thought-provoking 2008 documentary, Lord, Save Us From Your Followers. In the film Mr. Merchant seeks to answer the question, “Why is the gospel of love dividing America?”

To find the answer to that question, Merchant put on a pair of white coveralls and stuck religious bumper stickers (both pro and con) all over his body. He called himself “Bumpersticker Man”.

Bumpersticker Man went all over America with a camera and a microphone, and invited people to check out his costume and share their thoughts about Jesus and Jesus followers. People all over the country openly shared their opinions and beliefs about God and the people who profess to be His kids.

Merchant found that most people who have a problem with Christians do NOT have a problem with Jesus.

When asked what Jesus was known for, the respondents said things like, savior, diversity, good guy, loving, saving the lost, dying on the cross, performing miracles (or magic), bearded, philanthropist, and sincere. One girl said Jesus was the “first punk rocker”.

When asked to give a word or two that describes who or what a Christian is, the answers were far different. The men and women on the street used words like, hypocrites, intolerance, hate, frightening, overpowering, rigid, scary, nothing good, psycho, out of touch, uneducated, etc…

We profess to be followers of the well-respected God-man who shared the gospel of love and peace. Even the people that profess to be atheists acknowledge that the mythical man called Jesus was supposedly a good guy.

So, why is there such a disconnect between who Jesus is and who His followers are?

Kip Jacob, the senior pastor of Southlake Foursquare Church in West Linn, Oregon offers the following explanation. “We don’t trust Grace. We feel like we have to be defenders of the truth.” Pastor Jacob goes on to ask, “What if the church was known not for what it’s against, but what it’s for?” Wow!

I went to YouTube and looked at tons of clips from the documentary, as well as several interviews with Dan Merchant. Everyone from Matt Lauer to the Reverend Robert Schuller treated Merchant with respect and kindness. The filmmaker deserves that courtesy because he shows respect to believers and unbelievers alike. He seeks to give a platform for open and honest dialogue.

I did find a video rebuttal to the film that I thought was interesting. A big man, with a full head of gray hair and a silver beard sat in front of his computer camera and recorded his thoughts about Mr. Merchant and Lord, Save Us From Your Followers.

The man calls himself “Curtlegger”, and he believes Dan Merchant should be worried about the day when he meets Jesus face to face. He’s pretty sure Jesus is none to happy with Bumpersticker Man.

Curtlegger believes that Jesus did not say people would know we are believers because of how we love the WORLD, but how we love one another—the unity between Christian brothers and sisters. He further insists that Jesus specifically told us NOT to love the world.

Uh…Mr. Curtlegger, how’s that love-within-the-body-of-Christ thing workin’ for ya? Our lack of love for one another is the single biggest reason the world does NOT see Jesus in us. We treat one another like…well…like crap!

If we love somebody, we go out of our way to learn the best of who they are. But we Christians aren’t very good at looking for the good in our pew-mates. We’re notorious for sitting on our religious high horse and perfecting our Pharisee impersonation. “Thank you God that I am not like that guy over there. His marriage is a mess and his kids are trouble!”

Jesus didn’t go around telling people he was right. He went around showing people God’s love. He didn’t just walk with the disciples and the believers, he hung out with people of the world. That’s right, Curtlegger, the WORLD! He loved. I mean He REALLY loved.

What if Christians were known NOT for what we’re against, but for what we are commanded to do…to love? Are you willing to banish the term “Christianity” in order to further The Gospel of Love?

Get off the pew. It’s covered with bumper stickers and titles. And you know what? It’s not all that welcoming. I don’t want to be a Christian. I want to be a reflection of Jesus!

Get off the pew!


  1. Good post! A lot of believers today are calling themselves "Christ-followers" rather than "Christians" because of the negative connotation that comes with the term. Prayerfully this new term will not go the way of the old.

  2. Great post. I also enjoyed reading "Hell-through the eyes of a 10 year old." Thanks!