What is a Christian?
November 3rd, 2016 @ 8:59 pm

No really. What is a Christian? For many people, it’s a person that follows the teachings and believes that Jesus is the one true Messiah.

What if there was another definition? Can you be Christian and belong to another religion? What is Christianity isn’t just about talking about Jesus, but acting on the principles of Jesus?

I was raised Catholic, but I don’t adhere to all the Catholic Church wants me to do or what it believes. Some things the Church has done and permitted goes against my beliefs. Some tings I cannot fully sync with what I believe is for the best.

But other denominations have their own problems, too. No one denomination seems perfect. I have enjoyed my time with the Methodist Church, but the need for me to proclaim my faith, publicly, scares me. It might be my anxiety, or it could be they way I was taught that faith is a personal thing. Could be why I haven’t gotten confirmed in the Catholic Church. I guess I could; I have a friend that would help me. I also have several friends that are quite comfortable in professing their faith. I’m not there at saying it out loud.

So with all of that prefaced and outlined. I can say I was disappointed to see that Lifeway was not going to sell Amy Grant’s new Christmas album, Tennessee Christmas, for not being Christian enough. Amy’s manager wrote a great piece about it in the Washington Post.

I have the new Christmas album. There are 2 songs (3 if you have the Target version) that are about Baby Jesus. However, the other songs seem to make the album too secular for Lifeway. That is the reason they aren’t selling it. Four of the songs are secular standards.  One is a remake of “Tennessee Christmas,” a secular song in lyrics, but one my late mother loved because as someone that grew up in Nashville, the sentiment was exactly how she felt when we went “home” for Christmas. The other are new songs.

My mother had a saying that they will know we are Christians by our ways. She taught us it’s not about the talk, but the walk.

6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. 7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
1 Peter 5:6-7

Jennifer’s words on “Melancholy Christmas” express my sentiment on that song. No one wants to be alone. Did not Jesus teach us to love one another? Did he not show compassion and understanding to those that were deemed outcasts? I think a song like that, letting others they aren’t alone, is something Jesus would want us to spread. It’s why I strive to do the Mysterious Santa project here in Savannah when I am I healthy to do so. It breaks my heart to do that each year, but I know it means something to those I visit.

24 leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.
Matthew 5:24

And what about the track, “To Be Together?” Isn’t Christmas in our American society to be about being with the ones you love? Again, back to that whole loving experience that Jesus taught. We, as a culture, has designated Christmas as the holiday that we return home, sort of like the Japanese with Obon. It broke my heart when my apartment flooded in 2011 the day before my Christmas vacation and I had to spend most of it moving from one apartment to another instead of coming home to Savannah to be with my family and friends.

4 “[…]‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
Revelation 21:4

“December” is a sad song.  And yet I understand the pain so much. I say this as someone that lost her mother in December.  Many us start missing our departed loved ones at the holiday time. Sadly, my last Christmas with my mother was spent fighting with her over getting her to write her own e-mails without my help.

I don’t mean for this blog entry to sound like a slight against Lifeway.  It’s just me trying to explain the Christian attributes I can find in music other than using the words Jesus, God, and Lord.

4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
1 Corinthians 13:4-7

I think overall, part of being a Christian is being there for one another and loving one another. This album may not say Jesus or God over and over again, but it still shows love by allowing us to connect to others that have felt the same joys and pains as we have. Being there for one another and just being a shoulder to cry one.  Providing encouragement for another. And with this, it a way, some of my non-Christian friends are Christians after all.

Life · Music

1 Comment

  1. rebekah said,

    November 11, 2016 at 11:53 pm

    I love Amy Grant! And this whole “she’s too secular” argument is so overplayed in the church. I still have her old albums on my iPod, and I’m an atheist. 🙂 I’m looking forward to hearing her new xmas album! I still love her very first Christmas album, and listen to it every year.

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