Christianity is about…

September 18, 2007

I was wondering the other day, what is this Christianity thing about? So I sat down to make some notes and came up with five key concepts which seem important to me. Because I like to show off, I arranged them into a cross:

  Failure  
Jesus Love God
  Victory  

Christianity is about… Jesus – an itinerant rabbi living in a small backwater of the Roman Empire, Jesus was the only founder of a major religion to be executed young, alone and powerless. He taught a new view of morality based on the ideal of love, and after his death his disciples became convinced that his story had not finished and that his life showed us the nature of God – that God is like Jesus.

Christianity is about… Failure – failure at all levels. If we should love one another as ourselves, it is obvious we don’t – personal failure. As communities we wage war, tolerate slavery and starvation. But Christianity is also about the failure of Jesus, crucified. And by proclaiming a God of love, Christianity raises the question of the failure of God by putting the problem of evil at its starkest – if God loves us, why do we suffer still?

Christianity is about… God – God the creator, maker and sustainer of the ongoing universe, working through it; but also God the lover, not merely transcendent but approachable – she who lives in love lives in God, and God in her.

Christianity is about… Love – charity, agape, love; the basis of true morality. Love is about relationships and the value we put on others; we are called to enter into relationships with each other, not to obey rules.

Christianity is about… Victory – through love, there is the present reality and hope for God’s victory. Called by many names: salvation, the kingdom, the Spirit of God, the new convenant, the resurrection, life in abundance; it is a vision and coming reality of the healing of relationships and the breaking in of love into our hearts and lives. The work of God; this victory is seen in Jesus, seen in our own lives, still coming. It provides the hope of a victory over death itself but is here, and now.

This isn’t everything – it’s probably wrong, too.

What do you think Christianity is about?

What is it not about? Things I think it isn’t about: the Bible, miracles, hell, commandments, sacrifice, atonement, purity.

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2 Responses to “Christianity is about…”

  1. renaissanceguy Says:

    The disciples didn’t just think that Jesus’ life taught something or that he was like God. They said that he came back to life and was God.

    If your God can fail, then He is obviously not perfect. If He is not perfect, then He is not God. How could the crucifixion be a failure if it saved mankind from sin? It was the greatest success that has ever been achieved.

    I agree with what you write about God, Love, and Victory.

    Christianity is primarily about Love. If I had to pick only five concepts, I would also include Grace, Redemption, Eternity, and Reconcilation With God.

  2. demas Says:

    Hi renaissanceguy, thanks for stopping by!

    The possibility of God’s failure seems something deeply embedded in Christianity – from the pain of the exilic Psalmists to Jesus at his death (My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?) That we have faith in God’s victory does not change the fact that the victory is as yet incomplete…


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