Having posted the video Christian vs Christ follower pt 1, I probably gave the impression that I agreed completely with the whole 'Christian no more' idea which says, it seems, that the word 'Christian' has become so debased that those who seek to follow Christ need to give up on it and find another way to describe ourselves.
Well, i agree that 'Christian' has been devalued, but I don't subscribe to a 'throwaway society' approach that says 'if something doesn't work then we dispose of it'. I think that the character in the video who is 'the Christian' is probably more of a 'Churchian' - of whom I have met many in my life. For them the culture of Church, particularly the Conservative Evangelical sub-culture, is where they find a sense of identity and even self-importance. This identity is built up with Christian books which re-enforce certain attitudes, with Christian music, with the way they dress, wit Christian media etc etc etc. But that does not apply to all those who seek to follow Christ and who proclaim themselves 'Christian'. Or rather I should say it doesn't apply to all of us who seek to follow Christ and proclaim ourselves Christian!
The history of the Church is filled with times when we have re-valued common currency. Not always for the better but often very effectively. Rebranding 'saturnalia' as 'Christimas' was a way in which the Church took the longing to express light and life in the darkest part of winter and brought it under the banner of Christ, reminding ourselves of the light of Christ that has come into the world. It involved meeting human need for spiritual and emotional comfort with a proclamation of what God had done. It took a pagan festival and 'redeemed' it.
We are called to redeem the world, to take those things which are alienated from Christ and to bring them back into the light and life of God. It strikes me that sometimes we need to do that within our own 'Christian culture' as well, to take back from certain expressions of Church the misrepresentation of faith. I find myself constantly having to explain to parents who want their child baptised that 'born again' (a phrase which crops up repeatedly in our Baptism liturgy) does not mean a sort of 'wearing dodgy ties, right wing, tele-evangelist' Christianity, but that Jesus said that all must be born again to see the kingdom of God. It is an inclusive statement, whereby Jesus invites us to share new life, rather than an exclusive statement which says 'we're in, you're out'.
Surely, as Christians we are called to redeem the culture, not condemn or despise it? Likewise I don't see a distinction between Christ followers and Christians, but all are one in Christ Jesus. What we need to do is to re-educate both the Church and the world as to the meaning of 'Christian', to re-state our faith in and commitment to Christ, and to resist creating another culture of exclusiveness, such as the 'we're in the Christ followers so we are more faithful and significantly cooler than you who call yourselves Christians' which the Church is so good at doing.