As a practicing Christian it bothered me that the church had put modifiers in front of the word Christian to separate and marginalize. Think about it. How often have you heard people described as “baby Christians,” “back-slidden Christians,” “carnal Christians,” “Red Letter Christians,” “conservative Christians,” “mainline Christians,” “progressive Christians,” and the ever boastful “real Christians.”

Why can’t we drop all the divisive wording and just refer to those who try to follow Christ as “Christians.” Why not one big category full of beautiful, diverse and interesting people rather than smaller, limiting categories? It’s time to stop putting  people in boxes that restrict our ability to see them the way Jesus does.

Recently I learned of a labeling scheme aimed at the LGBTQ persons. [Notice I didn’t say “gay Christians” here—gay people who follow Christ are just Christians like anyone else.] Some churches have taken on the cause of labeling themselves as either “Side A” or “Side B”. Yes they are actually choosing sides! Side A refers to an affirming church that accepts and celebrates inclusivity—all members have equal rights when it comes to leading, speaking, marrying and participating fully in everything the church offers. Side B means full acceptance and everything that comes with it is only extended to cis gender heterosexual persons, often specifically men.

These labels are just a new way to say affirming and non-affirming. By creating a different reference point (Side A, Side B) another layer of discrimination is imposed on a select group of people. Apparently, Side B doesn’t sound as negative as non-affirming but honestly it ultimately communicates the same thing…”you are not fully accepted here.”  

The church needs to do better. Lose the labels. It’s time to see one another as a gifts from God, human beings created in his image no matter what the differences may be.