According to dictionary.com, Christianity means, “The state of being a Christian.” Well, then I looked up what the same site said was a Christian, and I have to say, the answer surprised me. There were four separate definitions.
1. of, pertaining to, or derived from Jesus Christ or His teachings: a Christian faith.
2. of, pertaining to, believing in, or belonging to the religion based on the teachings of Jesus Christ: Spain is a Christian country.
3. of or pertaining to Christians: many Christian deaths in the Crusades.
4. exhibiting a spirit proper to a follower of Jesus Christ; Christlike: She displayed true Christian charity.
5. decent; respectable: They gave him a good Christian burial.
Now I do have to give props to the dictionary.com people. The first 4 definitions are broad enough that they pertain to ALL faiths that sit under the umbrella term Christian; Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Mormon, and the seemingly thousands of Protestant faiths.
The last definition, I must say, is my preferred one.
This goes along with what I always thought the definition of being a Christian is; someone who is decent and respectable. We Christians have a wealth of a resource when it comes to how we define ourselves in the Bible, and those of us who are Roman Catholic have practically a library of scholarly writings by saints and popes, as well the Catechesis, what we believe is the end-all and be-all book of Roman Catholic laws (its online with its own search engine if you are ever interested). I have not read all of these, but I hope to someday. St. Catherine of Sienna’s (who was illiterate her entire life, btw) work on a women’s role in the Catholic church is suppose to be really passionate and relevant no matter what century you are living in, but I digress.
Personally, I like to look at the Gospel according to St. Matthew for a basic definition of Christianity. It is all there; the Beatitudes, the Golden Rule, and my personal favorite,7:1-5. That thought is what I will leave you with today:
1 Stop judging, that you may not be judged. 2 For as you judge, so will you be judged, and the measure with which you measure will be measured out to you. 3 Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove that splinter from your eye,’ while the wooden beam is in your eye? 5 You hypocrite, remove the wooden beam from your eye first; then you will see clearly to remove the splinter from your brother’s eye.