Thursday, November 10, 2011

The ZigZag Café

We will be convening here at the ZigZag café, Suisse, on Thursdays for conversation and dialogue. I invite you to stop by every Thursday for the question of the day. Your thoughts and participation are most welcome. Pull up a stool, avec un café, un thé, ou un chocolat chaud, et un croissant, and join in here on Thursday at the ZZ café.

For today:

What are several characteristics that should identify Christians and do you think they're being sufficiently acknowledged and practiced today?


carter said...

Bad hair and garish t-shirts with (take your pick) offensive judgment-day commentary, out-of-context scripture verses, hard-core political messages, or a combination of any of the above. I see it all the time.

Greg said...

Thanks. No one match that testimony.

carter said...

Please forgive sarcasm at such an auspicious and clear question. The world is in need of non-judgmental compassion without regard to personal gain or self-accolades. Be it for the poor, the weak, the victims of their own decisions or that of an oppressively self-centered society, we should be the voice of love and compassion.

My church became a cold weather shelter for the homeless. Laudable, but sadly enough, some in the congregation have objected because they don't want "those people" using our restrooms. Where would Jesus be?

No. I don't see the compassion in myself enough. The question tempts me to point fingers, but I have to respond first as to myself.

As I write, I am sitting in a hospital room with a stroke patient. She is sleeping right now. I will sit here until she awakens. It is my mother. I should do this with others when I haave the chance. If I do, maybe that will suffice to identify me as a child of God, but can there ever be a sufficient practice?

Greg said...

I'm very sorry to hear about your mother's stroke. Glad you're there with her and I hope and pray that she is recovering well.

Right on. We have to start with ourselves and not be too quick to point fingers at others.

From what I can tell, it is not primarily the doing that gives us an identity. It's rather first who we are in the community we have with God, as we see the need to be connected to the foot of the cross. Out of this community comes doing - being and then doing - and they are connected, but being a child is first, so as to not have the whole of our identity constructed by doing, doing, and more doing alone - when will we ever do enough?

One sufficient practice is placing ourselves at the foot of the cross and going from there.

Sisyphos said...

Why do you not abandon the term Christian and create a new term? After all, the term Christian came up after Scripture had been written. Sure, you have to line yourself up with the movement that determined the canon but it seems to me the term Christian has lost significance because it can mean anything (Kukluxklan, Mother Theresa, Christian Identity (right-wing, antisemitic, racist), L'Abri, Robert Spaemann, the Pope, you name it). Sure, people still would ask you about what it means, your new term, and perhaps describe you as Christian but it would be a significant move to make a point.

Greg said...

Thanks. Good point and I agree. I use the term in something of a default manner, but I'm open to new terminology - how about - biblically informed theist.

On another note, the term Christian, like any other term, is subject to relativising. Terms can mean anything? But there is still a referent somewhere that through the maze can be gotten back to. This referent, while not absolute, can shape the term and give it meaning, which provides some counter to making terms say anything we want them to. I still like the notion of domains of meaning - terms are not likely to be able to mean 5,000 things, but maybe 20. Terms simply do not have the linguistic power to carry 5,000.