Satisfying the Hunger... is a blog written by the ministry staff of Evangelism & Church Growth
Jesus or Christ?
We love our titles. Minister. Pastor. Preacher. Reverend. For me, I’ve always been uncomfortable with titles. Some aspire to them. I run from them. After I was ordained, I was asked often, “What should we call you?” “Pastor, Reverend, What?” I would reply, “Philip, that’s my name.” I received many blank stares. I’m not sure they like calling their Pastor by their first name with out any title attached. I’m sure it was out of respect for the office and part of their tradition but it always rang a little hollow to me. It always created a little distance, some separation from the other person. That bothered me. Still does.
Calling someone by his or her name is powerful. To call someone by his or her name implies intimacy or at least some level of relationship. Trust me, with my last name, I know who knows me and who doesn’t just by who can pronounce it. Does it make a difference, Absolutely! I respond differently when a person uses my name versus one of my titles. Name=relationship. Title=distance. “Good morning Reverend” or “Good morning, Philip”- which sounds more relational?
Can the same be said when our faith is involved? I’ve noticed more and more that many in our church use “Christ” when talking about “Jesus.” My vast seminary training (tongue-in-cheek) tells me that Christ is the title or the function. Christ was the role. Jesus was the person. I wonder if by using the term Christ more often than not, we are creating a distance between Jesus and us. By using “Christ” we can stay clear of the intimacy and relationship that is implied when we say “Jesus.” Even Jesus used the term “Abba” in conversation with God, which was a more intimate way to understand their relationship. Try it for a week and see how it changes your prayer life. Or in worship, replace the term Christ with the name Jesus and see if it doesn’t begin to change the depth of intimacy you feel during that time.