". . . the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch." Acts 11:26
Christianity is not relevant. So goes the fundamental assumption of society that Christianity is too weak, too frail, to function in the "real" world. It’s lost all credibility, and now, faith belongs on the sidelines or, even worse, should retreat up into the stands with its antiquated doctrines and disciplines.
If culture had its way, it would have Christian’s retreat from the tumult and harshness of the actual world. But, as people of faith, we must reject and resist the idea that the fabric of our faith is too delicate for the daily work world. That's it's too sensitive to ever hear a negative angry word or it will shrink at the sight of a world of wickedness. Christianity is not, and has never been, too weak to stand up in the storms of life.
Quite the opposite. The disciples were first called Christians in the third largest city of the Roman Empire. Antioch was a bustling city full of much the same things as the makeup of cities today. Christianity was forged in the real world, battle-born, hammered out by the mettle of the Master.
Jesus touched the leper – a leper others had shunned, disowned and exiled. That's not just a fact of scripture. It's a window to a principle. Wherever there are deep needs, ugly hurts, Jesus is there helping those who cannot help themselves. Christians don't recoil at the sight of the messiness of life, they run to it, step in it, get dirty digging people out of their problems.
The first Christians were seen to be like a breath of wind blowing through the darkened corners of Antioch. Their faith was so practical, so tremendously relevant, so irresistible that it changed the lives of others.
Society is steadily beginning to see that Christians are both tough and tender. Culture is beginning to see that Christians are here to contend for the heart and souls of others. The world is beginning to see that Christianity is more fierce and resilient and better than all the dust and heat of the heartless.
Don't be ashamed to be called a Christian.