I read a brief but very thought provoking post this morning, From the Pew: Expectations, Agenda, and Just Being A Christian. Steve asks:
What if I use some other book on child rearing? Or maybe none at all? What if I never listen to sermons of the pastor's favorite preacher? What if I want to have my kids with me in the service as opposed to in Sunday school? What if I prefer to invite other people over to my house for lunch instead of signing up for the church program that places people on a list to come over to my house for lunch? Is it OK to just be a Christian? I hope so.
That is an interesting question. When someone says they are a Christian, don't we often ask a bunch of clarifying questions starting with: where do you go to church? Depending on the answer to that question other questions follow. I almost always get asked within just a few questions if we homeschool. By contrast I almost never get asked: how are you serving God?
When someone in America says they are a Christian, we have certain expectations of them. We expect them to "go to church", have daily quiet time and devotionals, perhaps dress a certain way and look a certain way. If someone meets our expectations they get the stamp of approval as a "real Christian" and if they don't we look at them with suspicion as if they are perhaps not a "real Christian" because they fail to meet our expectations.
Maybe we should all ask the question that Steve asks. Is it OK to just be a Christian? I hope so too.