I Am More Than A Label….

Sometimes people ask me what “Unchurched”  means. Kind of like the “uncola” – what does that mean? Not a cola I guess!! “Unchurched” can mean whatever you want it to mean, but I chose the name to describe those of us out here that don’t feel comfortable in a church, have been rejected by a church, have never considered going but still want a relationship with God, have a strong faith and believe there is more to this life than the day to day grind.

For some the name is offensive. I guess it conjures up images of people who reject God, who oppose church, and I don’t know what else. I have an aunt who won’t read my blog because of the name. I can’t speak for her, but from what I gather I am encouraging people to stay away from church and one must go to church and sit in a pew for God to acknowledge us and consider us legit. Obviously I disagree! Oh well, we can’t please everyone and I love her no  matter her opinion!

I also have another relative who peppers all conversations with statements like “our Christian friends, the Christian restaurant we go to, the groceries we buy at the Christian store…..” blah blah blah. Apparently, the rest of us have “devil friends, go to devil restaurants, buy at devil stores……. Ok, ok, I’m being a bit sassy, but you catch my point.

The other day as I was driving to work and listening to the “Christian” radio station…..yes I listen to the “Christian” station —- hey I like the music and the dj’s are very balanced in their viewpoints. They are “real” and I appreciate that. Anyway, one of the dj’s took a call from a listener who made the comment, “when we have parties and invite our Christian friends……”. It got my ire up and I started thinking – which may or may not be a good thing!!

I am a Christian, if we are going to use the word to define those who believe in God and Yeshua (Jesus). As I have said in the past I prefer to call myself a believer because of the bad connotations associated with “Christian”.  “Christian” is a label like any other label, and in my mind defines people; makes them one dimensional. Think about it for a second. Have you ever had a friend or coworker discuss another person with you and use a label? For instance: biker, Republican, Muslim, homosexual and the like. What images do any of those words conjure up in your mind? Depending upon your experiences in life the images may be good or not-so-good. Subconsciously we make assumptions about that person before we even meet them. Sad.

Labels segregate us from one another. I am rather reluctant to get too close with someone who peppers every conversation with, “My Christian friends, the Christian school my kids attend, the Christian book I am reading”, etc. even when I was an active member of a church. It’s an “us vs them” mentality and that defeats the purpose of evangelism, in my mind anyway. I really don’t care for the word evangelism either. It’s “Christian-ese” for recruiting new members. And generally the mindset is recruitment for their brand of “church”, not necessarily to introduce another to God.

The bottom line is we are all on a journey of one kind or another. Our spirits were created by God; that’s my opinion and if you choose to reject that we can still be friends! If we are open to journeying with God through this life we will learn to love others, accept others, receive wisdom and truth, gain inner peace, and evolve into better people. We are all a  work in progress.

When Yeshua (Jesus)walked the earth He didn’t reject people based upon the labels they wore. That’s a lesson we can learn and take with us every day. He associated with Samaritans, lepers, tax collectors, prostitutes, the rich, the poor, the powerful and the not-so-powerful. Some rejected Him, others accepted Him. He spoke the truth plain and simple. He didn’t hide in the synagogue behind the Torah scrolls; He drank wine, broke bread with people the religious community rejected, had a close relationship with God, prayed for others, healed the sick, and touched the hearts of many. That in a nutshell is the lesson of His life on earth.

I am part of the “unchurched” community and not because I don’t believe in God or Yeshua. Quite the opposite. We who are unchurched know God, believe in the teachings of Yeshua, and need not be confined or defined by walls and labels. We are on a journey with God. If you are not part of the community, come join hands with us and we will journey together…….

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