Being Christian Out in the World

Fruits of the Spirit tree
Cartoon image of a tree with different fruits naming the fruits of the spirit. Title is "This Fruit is Always in Season." Image is courtesy of Pixabay.

Being Christian, being a follower of Jesus, is more about action than theology.


In preparing for this summer’s sermon series, “I am Christian: An Exploration of the I Am Statements in John’s Gospel,” I’ve thought a lot about what it means to be Christian in this moment. The conclusion I’ve come to may or may not be what you’d expect.

In years past I might have come up with a theological answer first and a practical one second. For example I might have said that Christians must believe that Jesus was the incarnate Son of God and live accordingly. While this is still true on some level, theology is less important to me these days.

With the public understanding of Christianity being what it is in these days of fear and division, it is important to share a different understanding of what it means to be Christian. This is not to say that there are not devout, loving people who uphold traditional Christian theology; there are. However, these are not the folx people think of when they hear the word Christian.

Now I am more inclined to emphasize behavior over belief than I was earlier in my ministry. Wherever we might fall on the theological continuum, how we follow Jesus out in the world is what matters.

Jesus taught love of God, self, and neighbor. He also cared deeply for the most vulnerable in society. Jesus re-membered those whom society intentionally forgot. Wouldn’t it be great if today’s church were known for the same?

During these hot, dry summer months, perhaps we can all be more intentional about how we follow Jesus. How can we be more loving – of God, self, neighbor, and Creation? What can we do to re-member those the world has intentionally forgotten?

How can we respond to the question of what it means to be Christian with our actions more than our words?

About Rachael Keefe

Rev. Dr. Rachael Keefe is the pastor of Living Table United Church of Christ. She was called to Living Table in 2015 after serving in many varied ministry settings since her ordination in 1992. She holds graduate degrees from Princeton Theological Seminary and Andover Newton Seminary at Yale (formerly Andover Newton Theological School). Her ministry and leadership often center around advocacy and accessibility. Her writing has been published by Chalice Press, The Christian Century, Red Letter Christians, Working Preacher, RevGalBlogPals, and others. She is grateful to be in ministry with Living Table today.

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9 thoughts on “Being Christian Out in the World”

    • Sandy, I also hope folx engage with this question and share some responses here and during the sermon series.

  1. I have a lot of thoughts about what it means to be Christian today.
    I’m commenting more to test whether the notification emails are working for logged-in website visitors…

    So, somebody reply to me or comment something on this post so I can see whether I get an email notification please.

      • Notifications are working for me.
        I got this email:

        There is a new comment on Being Christian Out in the World.
        Comment link:
        Author: Rachael Keefe

        I’m glad you’ve thought about it. Are the notifications working?

    • I think as long as you are logged in, the opt-in notification emails should work. I can see a log of 236 recent notification emails sent to some different people through this “subscribe” option system.

      We set them up to work for signed-in users only, to minimize spam and to reduce the load on the overworked server.

      I don’t see anything further to trouble shoot. It all looks good to me.


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