When I decided to become a Christian all those years ago, I thought of the word “Christian” as a noun. It meant something very concrete to me. It meant that I was a follower of Jesus Christ, learning to live as he taught, treating others as I would want to be treated.
Nowadays though, it seems “Christian” has become less a noun and more an adjective:
- Christian right
- Christian morals
- Christian apologetics
- Christian television
I can’t even begin to understand the meaning of the word “Christian” from these phrases. Seems like it changes flavor to match whatever word it’s paired with. Frankly, none of these terms evoke much of an image of a Christian in my mind.
But it shouldn’t be. The word “strawberry” is also a noun that can be used as adjective:
- Strawberry pie
- Strawberry tart
- Strawberry shortcake
- Strawberry sundae
As I read through that list, it makes my mouth water for the tangy taste of fresh strawberries. The other words don’t change the flavor. And I get a clear picture in my mind of that bright red freckly fruit.
“Strawberry” the adjective always makes me think of “strawberry” the noun. But sometimes when “Christian” is an adjective…
Well, the image is a little uncomfortable for me.
I am a follower of Jesus. I believe in the life he lived, the things he taught and the example he set. And although I’m nowhere near perfect, I do try hard to be a person who is kind, compassionate, understanding and forgiving. Because to me, that’s what a Christian is.
“Christian” the noun I get.
“Christian” the adjective?
I’m not sure what that is anymore…