In this series of posts, that I’ve called Christianity Is… I want to explore a bit about Christianity and the picture that I think the Bible gives us of what that was meant to look like. I have to admit that the title is a bit misleading, as inevitably the ideals that I talk about from the Bible are not going to be reflected everywhere in the world today. These post are talking about what Christianity is in the sense that this is how I think Christianity is portrayed in the Bible itself, before we humans got our hands on it and distorted it in all sorts of weird and not so wonderful ways.
There will be five posts after this, and each post will be on a different aspect of Christianity, with an explanation of why I think it’s important, a Biblical basis for it, and how it links to the other aspects that I’m talking about. What I hope to communicate through all this is that, like everything else in real life, Christianity has a bunch of different sides and angles, and that in order to get an idea of what Christianity looks like in the Bible, we need to be able to see those sides and angles for what they are, and consider them together as a whole.
I’m pretty sure that in these five aspects I’ll miss something that you think is important, or something that I think is important won’t seem that way to you. That’s fine. Christianity is, fundamentally, a relationship between God and a human, and as every human is different, that relationship is going to look a bit different every time. I’m undoubtedly biased in my choices, but I’m hoping that I’ll keep them broad enough, and grounded in the Bible, in order that you can see where I’m coming from, and recognise what it is that I’m talking about.
That’s enough of my waffle – here’s a taster of each post that I’ll be doing in the upcoming weeks.
…Pure. In this post I’m going to talk about the moral side of Christianity. The side where we’re told to be holy as God is holy, and given a lot of pointers in how to do that. Here in the 21st century we get a bit uncomfortable talking about rules, so I’ll have a look at what the rules are in Christianity, if any, and how on earth we can hope to meet God’s absolute standards of purity.
…Physical. This might seem a bit odd, but I had to find a word that encompassed all the ideas that I want to get into this post. Essentially, I’m going to look at what the Bible says about Christianity being a religion for the here and now, not just something that talks about a spiritual heaven in the future. I’ll look at why it’s important that God thinks our physicality is important, and tie that in to why we as Christians need to make an effort to help people in the situations they’re physically in today.
…Emotional. I was toying with other words for this one, words like ‘passionate’ or ‘engaged’, but I realised that what I really needed to get across was that we don’t need to be afraid of real emotions if we want to experience a real Christianity – a Christianity where we can laugh, cry, and love. This also ties into the idea of being passionate about the faith, and about believing in this with your heart and not just your head.
…Purposeful. This has similarities with emotion, but I decided that this could be an aspect of its own, as in this post I’m not just going to be looking at purpose in the sense of a passionate commitment, but in Christians knowing that they are called by God, and in the meaning that gives us in our identities and our actions. This is going to look at the will of God, and how that will works out into our lives, as well as what drives us on and gives us the strength to do what God calls us to do.
…Intelligent. This is another one that I struggled with naming, because I don’t want to give the wrong impression. I don’t want to say that Christianity has to be academic, or worse, that Christians who aren’t academic are missing out. So when I say intelligent, I don’t mean that specific kind of academic, theological intelligence (though for some people that’s definitely an important aspect of their faith), instead I want to talk about the thought behind Christianity. That it’s not all blind faith, but that there is thought behind it. One side of this is the rational/scientific/historical, ‘evidence for God’ side of Christianity, but even more important, and what I want to spend most time on, is the capacity for every individual Christian to have their own relationship with God that they are secure of in their own minds, based on their own reading of the Bible with the help of the Holy Spirit.
Throughout all of these posts, I hope that you see some of the most important facets of Christianity running through, especially love, the power and sacrifice of Christ, and the authority of God and his Word. It’s going to be a bit of a journey, but I hope that at the end of it I’ll have done this topic some justice, and that together we can grow in appreciation of God, his Word, and this amazing way of life that he has given us.