Tuesday, July 20, 2004

What makes a novel Christian?

What makes a novel Christian?  This was the topic today on the Faith In Fiction (http://faithinfiction.blogspot.com) blog.  It's funny because a similar thought has been working its way through my mind lately.  I keep recalling the verse in Acts where it says the disciples were first called Christians at Antioch.  It doesn't necessarily say they called themselves Christians.  According to Easton's Bible Dictionary (1897), this was the name by which the Greeks or Romans referred to the followers of Christ, probably a degrading term.  From Paul's writings, we know that the disciples called themselves "saints" or "brethren."  The name Christian itself is used only a few times in the New Testament. 

What does this mean to me?  Simply this: I believe my Christianity is more about what others perceive me to be than just what I call myself.  Didn't Paul say we could speak with the most glorious tongues and without love, be absolutely nothing?  So what if I do call myself a Christian?  Does doing so make me His follower? Does it ensure that my actions are Christlike? I tend to think not.  I would rather be called a Christian by the unbelievers with whom I cross paths daily than to assume the name myself and not be what I should be.  I hope that, and fear it's less often the case than I'd like, when others look at my life, they see Christ.  In the words I speak . . . and don't speak.  In my actions and in my attitudes.  In short, I don't want to simply proclaim myself a Christian; I want my life to proclaim Christ.  I fall short but like Paul, I press toward the mark and when I fall, I'm reminded that even in my failures He can be glorified.
So what would constitute a "Christian" novel, or play or movie or any other form of media?  I'm still thinking on this one . . . I think I'll save this one for another post.

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