|this is my first post so be gentle.....
i've been over the last couple of months dealing with the issue of salvation and what a christian really truely looks like. growing up, i struggled with the mindset that a christian must look like what the church says a christian should look like, or should speak like the church says a christian should speak, or even act like a christian should act. this is tough for me, because i have a father who is very conservative in all his mannerisms and the effect he has had on my life is very strong. (he still does not think i should dye my hair) but at the same time, i have begun to feel that many of the ideas that i have had about christianity are missing the point. what if the point of my salvation is not about what i do, or say, or how i look...but that i try and live in love for God and man.
the response that i have heard from my dad over the years echos in my ears, "do not conform to the world" and it bugs me. although it seems to be a good answer to seculsion from the world, i think that there is a much deeper and more important meaning. does jesus, in his teachings really focus on breaking away from culture? the only culture i see him breaking away from is the religious culture of the religiously stagnant. Those who were telling people to remove themselves from the culture of the time, that their salvation demanded that they live seperate from the culture around them. jesus called these people the blind. in fact he went out and broke traditions of culture, his disciples later demolished them. so jesus openly tears down culturly barriers and to me shows that culture is not what saves you.
so over the past couple months, i have dealt with the thought of what is it that makes me a christian, and what is it that can make me not a christian. is what makes me a christian the fact that i have accepted the gift of a reconciled relationship with God, that i can only get by accepting the gift of salvation from christ's death. also because it is a relationship, open acts of hatred and rebellion against God are what makes it so i can break this relationship. my salvation then is judged not by my actions, but by the intents of those actions. to me this was a freeing idea. a christian is a person who is following God's will and whose actions are of a pure heart. thus two people can do the same two actions and one can be sinning and one can be not sinning, because it was the intent of those actions.
so back to the very first line, what does a christian look like. and the answer i have come to decide....a christian does not have a look, there is no cookie cut out, no poster boy for christianity