A Few Thoughts On Why “Christian” Has Become A Pejorative

Pontificus Minimus Opines

Ole Pontificus is not chunking big stones here; he is merely pontificating with his fingers on the keyboard. He is bad about that! Pontificus is a Christian, albeit a compromised one, who is seldom proud of his behavior.

Why do so many Christians and non-Christians find the term “Christian” to be a pejorative–a word having a derogatory or disparaging connotation? Many of the hard feelings toward the word Christian are not warranted and are based on erroneous understandings of Scripture and the lifestyle it encourages.

However, much of our behavior and the actions of those who “profess” to be Christians and engage in activities in the name of Jesus are nothing short of abhorrent. We rail against those who drink, cuss, fool around, listen to secular music we don’t like, and who don’t attend church as often as they should. BUT…

How often do we not live up to what we promised? Do we honor our contracts in the business world? Do we treat folks in the service industry with respect? Are we generous with our possessions? Do we give to those less fortunate out of a desire to meet needs or merely out of compunction, if at all? Do we really treat others as we would like to be treated?

If we answer NO to the above questions, then we need to re-evaluate our relationship to God and to others. Most folks are quick to forgive when we screw up or do wrong–inadvertently or willfully. It is when we are arrogant and unwilling to say we are sorry, when we shy away from admitting wrong, or when we judge others by a different standard than we judge ourselves that we find others correctly labeling us as holier-than-thou or hypocritical.

Usually a Poor William or Pontificus Minimus rant begins with some perceived ill or wrong on someone else’s part, but it always ends with both the lads recognizing how far they fall short of the mark. It ain’t about the other guy or gal; it’s about the boys doing right in their own lives and behavior. We can do little to control others, but we can control ourselves, and that best with God’s help.

If “Christian” is to be a pejorative, then Lord please help this fellow not to be the one to cause it to be thus. For those of us who call ourselves Christians, let us work at keeping our word, let us be always kind to others, and let us be generous with all that we have, as we only have it for a season anyway.

God does not beat me with a stick, so why should I take a staff to another crafted in His image? I shouldn’t! pm


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  1. Gordon Yamamoto says:

    Good thoughts! Very similar to my Dalai Lama re- post this week. As a born again atheist, I still hold admiration for people of all faiths. My grandparents came from Japan as Buddhists to San Francisco in 1900, converted to Christianity, and helped found Buena Vista Methodist Church in nearby Alameda after the 1906 Earthquake forced their move. The basic foundation of compassion and caring for those less fortunate are integral to all major religions…the trick is to live it!! Thanks, Pontificus……(a Roman persecutor’s name?)

  2. I would suspect silly infatuations like yours with Netanyahu have a lot to do with “Christian” (especially the fundamentalist flavor of wackadoodlery) being a pejorative. Ironic, n’est pas, that these odd American christianists prostrate themselves before people like this:


  3. Monsieur! “Silly Infactuations”? How So?

  4. When the fascist/apartheid leader of a rogue nuclear power gets more jump-up-and-clap-hysterically (i.e., mindless) applause before the combined houses of Congress than Winston Churchill could have imagined in his wildest wet dreams, then that, Mr. Greer, is silly. And “infactuous” (as you say).

  5. The Atheist Delusion, Phil Fernandes Ph.D This is a fascinating little book that I just started that seems to address some of you concerns Billy. You might take a look if you have the time.

  6. Good article, Poor William. I deal with this sort of thing all the time. Monsieur, I fail to see what this article has to do with Netanyahu. Was he or the State of Israel even mentioned? Or the US government, for that matter. Are you going to call the US a “Christian nation,” as if everyone in Congress or anywhere else is a Christian? Please excuse my directness, everyone, and don’t confuse it with rudeness. Here in FL people don’t tend to beat around the bush.

  7. It seems some people are obsessed with Bush, even though he has been out of office for-how long? (I was only using an expression, sheesh!) Well, I’m not going to pursue this argument any further because it is completely unrelated to the article, which is about how Christians should think about their own actions and how those actions might reflect badly on their professed faith. It seems to me that those who have a such a low view of the “form of religion practiced in this country” would applaud the fact that Christians are examining themselves to see if they are truly living according to the teachings of their faith if they were not so obsessed with their own political agendas.

    • Thanks Liz! I feel in practice, even if too seldom practiced by one-and-all Christians, that Christianity is one of two monotheistic utilitarian religions where reflection is built in theologically. When we as Christians air our weaknesses and areas where we do fall short consistently, it is a shame when others enjoy ganging up on those who are trying to live according to an age-old code designed to bring us closer to God and closer to ALL our fellow men and women!

  8. I mean if those who have a low view of the form of the religion practice in this country were not obsessed with their own political agendas.

  9. Now and again we all incounter someone who is not worthy of our time or trouble. “If you can’t say something good”. Well,you know the rest.

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