Wednesday, May 21, 2008


I have absolutely no idea why this thought came to me while watching American Idol. Some lyrics from the song George Michael sang triggered the thought.
Church is a Noun. Christianity is a Verb.

From what I recall of grammer, a Noun is a person, place or thing. It really doesn't do anything. It just is. A Church is a Noun. It a place. Its a group of people if you like the sunday school song version. Its a thing where organized religion keeps itself together. It in and of itself really doesn't do anything.

Christianity, on the other hand, is a verb. A Verb is an Action word. A Verb, according to my dictionary, "expresses an act, occurence or mode of being, that in various languages is inflected for agreement with the subject, for tense, for voice, for mood..." A Verb does something.

And for some reason this struck me: I am a member of a Noun. Not a Verb. If we define ourselves as Christian simply as a result of the fact that we attend or belong/support a Church, then our self definition is incorrect. We are a church member. A church is a noun. It doesn't do anything. It is simply practicing Churchianity.

If I were a member of a verb (that being the hands and feet of Jesus), then I would rightly define myself as a Christian (one who follows Christ) only if I "express an act or mode of being that is inflected for agreement with the subject", the subject being Christ's teachings to love one another, feed my sheep, and whatever you do for the least of these you do unto me.

And I openly admit I fall way short on this. For am I more of a Christian if (1) I am working at the food bank once a week or (2) setting in a pew once a week? Is it motivation for one or the other that separates the issue and defines it more clearly? I suppose an atheist could work at the food bank and not claim to be a christian - BUT - that person would still be doing the work Jesus called us to do. Could I conversly claim to be a Christian and attend church, but never take time to help those less fortunate?

I think at times we (the church) schedule the once-a-year Habitat House or take the youth to the Food Bank just to make ourselves feel good. Yes, it is helping, but there is not intentional consistency. We are intentional about Church attendance, but I can't find that in the teachings of Jesus. We are to be about being intentional toward loving one another,
Yes, Church is a Noun. Christianity is a Verb.


MizAngie said...

Whew! For a minute there I thought you were channeling Oprah and her new age religion.

I know I'm awful but this made me think of George Carlin's routine about the word sh*t and how interchangeable it is as a noun, verb, adjective, etc...

Lord, forgive me...

nonprofitprophet said...

mizangie - i love Carlin's bit on "stuff"... ~npp