Reflections | March 1, 2016

Just Christians

Photo by Glenn Riegel

“Called To Be Just Christians” is based on Matthew 5:1-12 and 25:33-45.

As we sit with a time of protests and calls for “justice” in our communities and our world, there is no better time to reflect on what justice means.

Because I am an educator at heart, I find the best way to learn is through conversation and dialogue. So I hope to talk about being “Just Christians,” in both senses of the word. If we want to call ourselves Christians, to just be Christians, then we must model our lives and our attitudes after Christ. The very name “Christian” means being Christ-like.

Living a Christ-like life can be uncomfortable and uneasy. To walk with the disenfranchised and give comfort to the afflicted is sometimes uncomfortable. And yet, we are also called to be Just Christians, and seek and provide justice whenever and wherever it is appropriate.

Providing justice is neither comfortable nor easy. But since when did being a Christian mean comfort and ease? Shielding the meek is scary. So too is calling out injustices we see. Not just the big ones, but the everyday ones that exist in our communities.

So let’s begin the dialogue and conversation about being called to be Just Christians. What are your stories of being just a Christian and being a Just Christian? When have you or your congregations walked with the poor in spirit, or the mourners, or the meek, or the hungry? When have you worked with the merciful, or been enlightened by the pure of heart? When have you been peacemakers or represented the persecuted? Or better yet, when have you fed the hungry, or given a drink to the thirsty? When did you welcome a stranger and take care of the sick, or visit those in prison?

I know that, because we are Brethren, the stories are out there. And I know that, because we are Brethren, we don’t talk about what we do. But we are called to talk about it. Sharing our stories may inspire others to just be Christian, or be a Just Christian.

Eric Bishop was moderator of the 2015 Pacific Southwest district conference, which had the theme “Called To Be Just Christians.” A member of La Verne (California) Church of the Brethren, Bishop works at Chaffey College and is a lecturer at the University of La Verne. He recently completed a term on the Annual Conference Program and Arrangements Committee.