At Zac's last night, before we tucked into lovely soup and dodgy bread, Sean read a bit from the Bible about Nicodemus, and he said how much he disliked using the phrase 'born again'. It only occurs once in the Bible and that's in John 3:3, where Jesus tells Nicodemus, a wise old teacher, that no-one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.
A few months ago, Chris, one of our church leaders, caused a furore in a meeting when he said something very similar to Sean, along the lines of 'I can't be doing with this born again malarkey.'
What they both meant was not that they disagreed with Jesus but that the term has become so associated with negative things about Christianity that they wanted to be disassociated from it. When people say, 'are you a born again christian?' you can almost hear them thinking, 'Oh, no, not one of those.' In many people's eyes the term has come to be associated with the happy clappy, greedy, hypocritical, televangelist type of person - usually, I'm afraid, American. And what some of these preachers say is enough to make Jesus get down from the cross.
I've read a few blog posts of late that are critical or unbelieving of Christianity. I would suggest that most bloggers' views of Christianity are based on their experience or what they perceive it to be through what they see. I would also suggest that that perception is an infinity away from what God intended.
God is passionate. About his creation, about his created beings. Evil rouses him to fury; suffering makes him weep. He isn't wishy washy; he isn't apathetic. He is strong; he's gentle; he is all-knowing; he waits to be told; he listens; he hears; and most of all he loves humanity to a depth and a height and a width that we can't understand.
God didn't send his son into this world to condemn it - or us.
Now I've forgotten where I started, how I got here and what I wanted to say. You see, this is why I don't try and write clever posts. So I'll conclude with Sean's answer to the title question. 'I'm one who tries to follow Jesus.'