Why I don't enjoy being called a "Christian"

When pervasive Christian thought is filtered by the media and radical agenda pushes into mainstream ideals, the world tends to lump all people together. The voices of the most obnoxious get the best ratings and tend to penetrate the public view of who and what certain people believe in. We have a very distorted view of what Christ followers (some call them Christians) believe on the topic of homosexuality.

As I sat in my local coffee shop working on homework I looked up and noticed a group of men waiting on their coffees. One of them pointed to the back of my computer and they all began to chuckle. The laughs turned to whispers and before I knew it they were making gestures that left me saying, "What the heck!"

I closed my computer, thinking I must have something funny stuck to the back of it for them to be behaving the way they were. Quickly, I realized that there was in fact something stuck to my computer...

"Oh no!!" I thought to myself. They think that I'm one of them. They think I'm a 'Christian.' 

The young man looked straight into my eyes, pulled his partner close and planted a kiss right on his lips. With his eyes still focused on mine I tried to look away and break eye contact. They all giggled at my apparent 'uncomfortableness.' 

The things is... I wasn't uncomfortable because of their public display of affection. I was uncomfortable that they clearly believed that by me having a sticker on my computer that read, "I am the apple of God's eye" that it most certainly meant I thought that I was above them. I was uncomfortable to be called a Christian in that moment. 

You see I'm not a Christian. Over half of our country uses that term and it is very unimpressive to me. 

I'm not a Christian... I'm a Christ follower. 

I follow Christ. I follow the living God. The God that came to this earth for the prostitute, leper, tax collector, lame, weak, dumb and blind.... The same God that came to earth and died for me also came to earth and died for homosexuals. 

These men thought I was one of those Christians. One of those Christians that make no attempt to look or act like Christ. 

I am the 'apple of God's eye' because he loves me, period. I didn't have to get all cleaned up to approach his throne. When I approached His throne dirty and full of sin and shame is when I realized that I wanted to be different. I wanted to begin to remove all of the things from my life that separated me from Him. 

If I could talk with those men (or any homosexual) here is what I'd say:

1) I'm not a Christian, I'm a Christ follower. There is a big difference. I believe that Christ died for you and for me. 

2) "I'm sorry!" I'm sorry that the Christian agenda has left you feeling unwanted, weird, like a freak, or an outsider. Your homosexuality doesn't make me uncomfortable. What does make me uncomfortable is my counterparts use of the Bible. I'm very clear on what the Bible says about 'homosexuality' and I'm also very clear on what it says about divorce, lying, stealing, cheating, pornography, premarital sex, gluttony, idolatry, gossip and slander.... "I'm sorry!" 

3) I do believe that marriage is between one man and one woman. I do believe that homosexuality is a sin. I do believe that 'marriage' is a gift from God and that Satan has tried to skew and pervert it in many ways from the beginning of time. I believe in protecting the sanctity of marriage by personally investing in my own. By being an example to those I encounter, instead of another stumbling block. 

4) I'm not intimidated by your desire for equality. I get it... I really do. 

5) I would invite you to sit next to me in church. You are no different than the couple that sits in front of me with two kids, living together and unmarried. You are no different from the man sitting two rows over who tucks his family into bed at night and heads to the dark corners of his home to view pornography. You are no different than the couple that sits six rows down from me that just signed divorce papers and are headed after church to tell their kids the devastating news. You are no different than most people who sit in church every Sunday. You have been made the object of Christian attention when our aim shouldn't be on you... It should be on ourselves. 

6) You have a choice just like I do. Your choice to serve God or not, is uniquely your own. Christians focus and drive to rid the world of 'ungodliness' has come across as an attack on your character. Christians have chosen to make an object out of your behavior because in some weird way it makes them feel more 'Christian-like.' Your decision to engage in a homosexual relationship separates you from God... just like my decision to gossip yesterday about my 'friend' did. You have to repent and so do I. It's a personal decision. God won't force himself on you and neither should Christians. 

7) 'Christians' in general DO NOT speak on behalf of God. You have to be incredibly BOLD to say you speak the words of God himself. We cannot take our loose translation of the Bible and broadly apply it in ways it was never meant to be applied. The Bible I read speaks far more about loving people then it does about any other thing. I read of a God who reached down and picked up a woman caught in the act of a 'sexual sin' and rebuked those there waiting to stone her to death (the religious folk). 

8) I have worked with, had relatives and friends that are gay and they are not freaks. In fact, they have been some of the first people to give me a hug on a terrible day at work. Some of the first people to remind me how special they think I am. They are caring, compassionate, loving and accepting of all people. You are not freaks. Christ-followers really do like you. We really do want you to see Christ in us and not some hidden agenda. We just haven't handled ourselves in a Godly fashion. 

So the next time you see my computer don't assume you know me or what I stand for. Don't assume that your behavior is appalling to me or that I am judging you. I recognize your need for Christ in the same way I recognize my own need. I need Jesus everyday just the same way I know you do. 

When you see me and want to 'gross me out' or 'shock me,' remember I'm no different than you. You don't like being lumped together with all the radical 'gay' people so don't lump me together with all of the 'Christians' you read about or see on T.V. Give me a chance as an individual. Don't judge my intentions because of the actions of others. 

To my fellow Christ-followers... Let's not pick and choose which one of the sins we want to shine a light on. Let's shine a light on sin... period. Let's strengthen marriage from within and be more focused on our judgmental, condemning spirit and a little less on the fact that Tom is kissing Jim in Starbucks. 

Sin is sin! Period.  We use these very bold signs to throw back and forth at each other. Almost to say we are from two very different worlds. When in fact we are not. We are all people in need of a savior and Satan is incredibly clever at making sure we never find any sort of common ground to establish relationship. 

You can have both.

As Christ followers we can begin to see people, not gay or straight, just people. 

The gay community needs to realize that not all Christians are Christ-followers.

Stop believing the lie so rooted in fear that "terrible things are happening in our country because of our removal of God from school and government."

Last I knew God doesn't live in establishment, He lives in people. Start being those people. 



  1. My friend ypu have such an eloquent way with words. you have such a gift!!!! Thanks for sharing it with the world.

  2. I like what you are saying, but I actually don't completely agree.

    The term Christian is a biblical term - it appears 3 times in the New Testament - Acts 11:26, Acts 26:28 and 1 Peter 4:16. The issue isn't the label - one can be a "Christ-follower" and not actually follow his example or teachings - Judas Iscariot followed Jesus for 3 years. So I don't really care for the re-labeling either. I look at it more as little-c christians vs. Capital-C Christians. Those who claim to be following, vs. those who follow not just his teachings, but also live his example, his way. To me, that is a Christian, not a christian. I read an interesting post about this:

    The label isn't the issue, it is the actual LIFE of the person.

  3. The point isn't to relabel "true christians" as Christ followers. The point is that there is a "Christian" platform that many "Christians" hide behind, whether you are a little-c christian or a capital-C Christian. That platform is a hateful agenda that calls out homosexuals as being involved with an abominable sin which is much worse than the more "common" sins that go unnoticed in church.

    To argue the point of Christian vs. Christ-follower would be pointless and completely miss the message that Nicole is trying to get across. The biblical meaning of Christian is Christ-follower meaning to argue that one is more correct than the other is useless.

    The heart of Nicole's blog is that as Christians who truly wish to follow the heart of God we should examine our own hearts to determine if we are hiding behind an agenda which may not truly capture the heart of God.

    Sin is sin and is not acceptable when you are in God's kingdom. Jesus has called us to give up everything we have to follow Christ. Whether your sin is pride, greed, murder, hate, gluttony, drunkenness, pornography, homosexuality, lust, gossip, fakeness, deceit, lying or any other sin that separates you from God, we all have to give up everything to follow Christ. The "christian agenda" says that homosexuals are worse sinners and should be isolated and punished more severely for their sin. The "christian agenda" says that homosexuality is one sin in which the sinner should be clean and set free before entering church. You, Matt may or may not identify with the agenda that is being held up as a standard which is assumed that all christians believe. Nicole is calling into question the practices and actions of many christians in this nation which discredit our faith and does not line up with the heart or teachings of Christ.

  4. Well said, Tim and Nicole. I do agree with you on the agenda issue - I do not believe homosexuality is any different than any other sin, and I do not want to get caught up in anything which could separate us from God's plans and desires for us. God is love - he loves all of us as His children, and we are called to love one another regardless of each person's sin. My point was simply that re-labeling one's self does not change the heart or meaning, and dropping the term Christian because so many are dragging it through the mud is not the real answer. We need to show by our example, by our witness, that not every "christian" is a hate-filled homophobe. Since Christian literally means "people of Christ" or "Christ-follower", I do not see the point of dropping the label for the more convenient "Christ-follower". That was all I was getting at. Not trying to cause a fight; I just don't think it is right to throw out the label "Christian" because of what is truly a fringe element.

  5. Nicole, I love your heart in this! I totally understand that feeling when people find you to be a Christian. I've been asked if I'm a "fundy" or if I honestly think there is no other way. And while I quietly and sometimes embarrassed answer yes, it still hurts that people judge me based on a label more than on my heart and actions. Keep writing girl! You're wonderful with the words! xoxo

  6. Your words are written with deep passion that can be felt by the reader.

    I agree with your position on sin. You state it plainly sin is sin, doesn't matter the type and we are ALL guilty of it and we ALL need to ask for forgiveness DAILY.

    I also find an interesting thought process occurring in my mind after reading the main post again and then the replies...
    Shouldn't we love and forgive, even more, those that are just following; aka: pew warmers; "cookie cutter christians"; little c-christians or whatever title they are given?

    Upon my second read of this post it occurred to me that those cookie cutter or little c-christians need love and forgiveness as much as the other sinners. Those of us trying to walk the walk, big C christians or whatever the choice of title – we, no I need to be careful not to judge the other too harshly. Scripture tells us to gently correct our brother when we see him stumble and I would hope that my fellow brothers and sisters would never "judge" me based on my thoughts or actions, because I know I do make mistakes or sin.

    Mistakes or sin occurs often times because of our own stupidity and sometimes because we don't know any better until after God corrects us.

    Either way I am thankful to God above for the author and for the willingness to post what God lays on her heart, regardless of the humanistic opinions she might receive. This is a very interesting and thought provoking subject.

  7. I have to disagree, you cannot have both. Sin is sin and what did Jesus tell those caught in sin? Go and SIN NO MORE. He did not tell them, oh well we all sin so have it both ways. Labels don't matter ...followers were known more for being part of THE WAY than Christians. Jesus said (Matt 7:22 [ESV2011])
    On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’

    It was not that they weren't labeled christians or Christians it was that they did not KNOW Jesus or his Father who sent him.

    Many followers will be saddened when they think they have put in time doing good works to find they did not know Jesus.

    (1Sam 15:22 [ESV2011])
    And Samuel said, “Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen than the fat of rams."

    To Obey and listen to the Lord. You cannot have it both ways.

    1. I don't think you read anywhere in my post about having it both ways (meaning both sin and follow Christ). There was also no mention of anything having to do with works. You are 100% right when you say Jesus said, "Go and sin no more." I'm not arguing that in any way. What I'm addressing is our desire for sanctification before justification. I don't ever want to look at someone and have an attitude of clean up and then your welcome. Homosexuality is a sin of the flesh and that is why it is so difficult to escape. It consumes ones life and tells them that is their identity.
      Having both, means being willing to love people right where they are and still follow Christ with everything you have. Our job as Christ followers isn't to condemn people. Yes, loving people means we will tell them the hard truths but they can't hear the truth when we don't take the time to care, listen and interact.

    2. I see so you are saying this is about loving the sinner and NOT the Sin? I don't see condemning the sin as condemning the sinner. If we do not raise a standard of holiness who will? Holy is to be "set apart for him" not aligned with the world.
      (1John 2:15 [ESV2011])
      Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

    3. I'm sorry that you see this post as aligning with the world. Well played with the use of my blog name in your statement.
      I encourage you to reread the blog. It is calling us higher in our thinking. Calling us as Christ followers to call sin, sin but not to hold ones sin higher than another's.
      If we all think about the most desperate time in our life... The time when sin was rampant and controlling the way we think, act and respond. During those times you are not able to hear people screaming "Jesus!" in your face. Those are the times when you need to see Him and see Him in other people.
      When Jesus stayed with Zacchaeus, we read how people grumbled because he was considered the most unclean in their culture... Jesus stayed with him anyway. As a result his entire family was saved. What about the woman thrown at Jesus' feet. Jewish law demanded she be stoned for what she'd done. He reached down and met her where she was. Lifted her head and reminded her of her value.
      Jesus always front loaded every encounter with love and acceptance.
      People changed because of his love for them not because of His distaste for their behavior. The pharisees crammed rules and scripture down their throats. Jesus loved and accepted them and from there change occurred.
      I'm not saying we turn a blind eye...
      If you're quoting 1 John 2, read the entire chapter. It talks about Jesus being our advocate. It says in verse 2, that he is not only the atoning sacrifice for us but for the world.
      The world don't know His commands and will never believe in Jesus if we continually get in the way.
      Verse 17 goes on to say, ...whoever does the will of God lives forever." I'm not condoning the behavior anymore than I condone a husband sitting watching porn, or having an affair. We want Gods best for them and we have the truth but they have to know we love them before they hear it.