One of those classic questions from Friday night youth group campfires came up this week in a conversation and I didnt see it coming – “so, what does it mean to be a Christian?” Frankly, it is tempting to throw the force field of ‘theology qua theology’ around me akin to Sue Storm in the Fantastic Four and then speak with authority from within the protective bubble – “Oh, just go to this website – here – and follow the easy steps.” Life, it seems, doesnt offer such manga-like liberty of distance. The fact of the matter is, this guy really wanted to know and was looking to me to deliver the goods. I suppose I shouldnt be so suprized, its just that since moving out of full time church work and into academia, I dont get approached on this front nearly as much! As Frost put it, two roads that seem divided pretty quickly converge – (1) cynicism at the Church (“why do you join such a group ?!”) and (2) sincere empathy (“let me tell you my story of faith – somewhere you may make a connection…”)
How should we respond to such a basic question?