Why I Call Myself A Christian

Why I Call Myself A Christian

God doesn’t care about labels—people do.

Anybody who identifies as a Christian is probably well aware of the stereotypes associated with Christianity. I encounter this all the time because I attend a Christian college, one that is obviously Christian by the name of it. I’m familiar with the stereotypes, the image of Christians that pervades our society. Homophobic. Hypocritical. Judgmental. Bigoted.

I’m familiar with the face people make when they hear the name of my school and the surprise on their face as I answer the inevitable “So you’re a Christian?” with a yes. I’m familiar with the confused looks as they try to reconcile what they know of me with these stereotypes, and I’m familiar with the sudden overwhelming urge to defend myself and my character before they can attach those stigmas to me.

It becomes annoying after a while, the feeling of living on the verge of being attacked or judged for my faith. But that’s not the problem. Sure, it’s irritating, but I can live with it. The real problem is that these stereotypes aren’t necessarily false. In a lot of places, for a lot of people, for a multitude of reasons, Christians are each of these things and more. That feeling of having to be constantly on guard and prepared for an attack is something that many non-Christians face at the hands of Christians every day.

That’s why these stereotypes exist. We, as Christians, created them, and we continue to reinforce them with our behavior.

Someone recently asked me how I can call myself a Christian because “you’re just so chill.” I didn’t fit with their perception of a Christian. And that’s exactly why I call myself a Christian despite all the negative associations it brings.

I figure I have two choices. I can call myself a Christian and accept that homophobia, hypocrisy, etc. will be applied to me, or I can introduce myself in some other way, and skirt around my faith, hoping that it won’t come up.

I don’t like the second option. Firstly because I refuse to hide my faith — don’t hide your light under the bushel and all that. Secondly, because if I reject the label of Christianity, as so many people who do believe in a god do, then I have abandoned my faith to exactly the sort of people who bring those negative associations, the people who justify hypocrisy and bigotry in the name of righteousness.

I refuse to do that. Christianity is not about those things and the fact that it has become so sickens me. We argue amongst ourselves and with everyone else about minor issues. We forget that it is not our job to judge anyone’s sin but our own. We are supposed to love. Everyone. Everywhere. All the time. No matter what.

That’s why I call myself a Christian. That’s why I label myself the way I do. Sure, I believe in God and Jesus and the Bible. But I also believe that Christianity has become twisted and skewed, and the only way I have to change that is to follow it, really follow it. I’d rather put myself and my own reputation on the line, and have that be damaged than let others continually commandeer and corrupt my faith in the name of my God.

I hear a lot about the culture war in America between Christians and everyone else. I hear Christians talk about being persecuted while simultaneously supporting the denial of rights to others. But the war isn’t between us and them. It’s between us and us. We are our own worst enemy. We are the ones who corrupted the name of Christianity. So if you don’t like people making negative assumptions about you because you’re a Christian, prove them wrong. Not by arguing, but by being so Christ-like, so loving, that your faith becomes, in their mind, what Christianity is about.

It’s time “Christian” became more than a label, a way to announce a political opinion or a way to see who is on our side. It needs to be a way of life, a way of love. Because that’s the only way to not just break the negative stereotypes, but to get rid of the behaviors that cause them.

Cover Image Credit: Flickr Creative Commons

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To The Girl Struggling With Her Body Image

It's not about the size of your jeans, but the size of your heart, soul, and spirit.


To the girl struggling with her body image,

You are more than the number on the scale. You are more than the number on your jeans and dresses. You are way more than the number of pounds you've gained or lost in whatever amount of time.

Weight is defined as the quantity of matter contained by a body or object. Weight does not define your self-worth, ambition or potential.

So many girls strive for validation through the various numbers associated with body image and it's really so sad seeing such beautiful, incredible women become discouraged over a few numbers that don't measure anything of true significance.

Yes, it is important to live a healthy lifestyle. Yes, it is important to take care of yourself. However, taking care of yourself includes your mental health as well. Neglecting either your mental or physical health will inflict problems on the other. It's very easy to get caught up in the idea that you're too heavy or too thin, which results in you possibly mistreating your body in some way.

Your body is your special, beautiful temple. It harbors all of your thoughts, feelings, characteristics, and ideas. Without it, you wouldn't be you. If you so wish to change it in a healthy way, then, by all means, go ahead. With that being said, don't make changes to impress or please someone else. You are the only person who is in charge of your body. No one else has the right to tell you whether or not your body is good enough. If you don't satisfy their standards, then you don't need that sort of negative influence in your life. That sort of manipulation and control is extremely unhealthy in its own regard.

Do not hold back on things you love or want to do because of how you interpret your body. You are enough. You are more than enough. You are more than your exterior. You are your inner being, your spirit. A smile and confidence are the most beautiful things you can wear.

It's not about the size of your jeans. It's about the size of your mind and heart. Embrace your body, observe and adore every curve, bone and stretch mark. Wear what makes you feel happy and comfortable in your own skin. Do your hair and makeup (or don't do either) to your heart's desire. Wear the crop top you've been eyeing up in that store window. Want a bikini body? Put a bikini on your body, simple.

So, as hard as it may seem sometimes, understand that the number on the scale doesn't measure the amount or significance of your contributions to this world. Just because that dress doesn't fit you like you had hoped doesn't mean that you're any less of a person.

Love your body, and your body will love you right back.

Cover Image Credit: Lauren Margliotti

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What A Blessing It Is To Have Been Loved By A Grandpa Like You

No one could ever replace your contagious giggle and radiating love.


To my newest angel in heaven...

Grandpa Norb, I just wanted to write to you to let you know how great it is to be loved by a grandpa like you. With 4 children, 4 children in-law, 10 grandchildren and 9 great-grandchildren, we all know in our different ways your love for us. While you are no longer here, I am certain that you will always be watching over us and in our hearts.

Knowing you for 20 years, I can't imagine feeling more loved. Every holiday gathering started with you wishing a Merry Christmas, no matter the actual holiday. You always welcomed with a hug, and said goodbye with open arms, a kiss on the cheek and a whispered reminder that I am always in your prayers. Even with you no longer with us, I know you'll be watching over and praying for me as I carry on my steps in life.

Like a sunflower, you were always bright and smiling when I saw you. You showed your excitement when I walked in the room and made me feel lucky to be around you and overjoyed to know you just through your smile. You were the patriarch of our wonderful family standing tall and showering us with radiating love and goofiness.

Among us all, you loved Grandma with your whole heart and were married for 68 beautiful years. Watching her say goodbye has been one of the hardest things to see, but completely overpowering, the love you had for each other. As long as I knew you, I don't think I ever saw the two of you apart. The unconditional love that you had and always will feel for each other is one that I envy to have in my own relationships.

As almost two weeks have passed since God brought you to him, this is my goodbye to you. I will never forget the last good day I spent with you and Grandma together. I will think of you when I see yellow sunflowers standing tall and bright, and during thunderstorms as if it is you Grandpa Ray bowling together up in heaven.

I feel incredibly lucky to know you and have been loved by you for 20 of your 94 years, and I will always miss you.



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