I have been a Christian since the late 80s. Back then, if somebody said they were a “Christian” everybody pretty much knew what that meant. You believe Jesus is the Savior, the Son of God. We get it.
In the intervening years, things have changed. The word “Christian” doesn’t quite have the same punch it once did. (There is great debate about whether or not America is a “Christian” nation, or if she ever was. There is certainly a preponderance of evidence pointing to the fact that we are now living in a post-Christian society). In fact, since I’ve been a believer–another word that just about everyone used to know the meaning of–I’ve gone from being just a “Christian” to being a “born-again Christian” to being a “Christ-follower.” (That last one I learned at the seeker-sensitive church I used to attend). I guess there are even “Christian Atheists” now, but who knows what that is? (Back in my day, I think they were called “carnal Christians, or “backslidden believers”).
For some time now, there’s been a movement afoot known as “Emergent,” or the “Emerging Church.” I’m not up on all the details, but basically it seems to be a group of post-Christian Christians. A new kind of Christian. They’re cool, hip, and relevant. And they are my brothers and sisters in the Lord (though I’m neither cool, nor hip, and didn’t really grok Velvet Elvis).
All of this is far afield from what I want to propose today. You see, I think people are right when they say the word “Christian” has lost its verve. Polls tell us that the majority of people in America call themselves “Christians,” but that seems to borne more out of tradition than in the biblical sense. What I want to propose today is that instead of “Christian,” or “Christ-follower,” or “believer,” or “Baptist,” or “Emergent,” we adopt “Jesus-Adjacent.” I’m serious. In John 13:34-35, Jesus said, “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. As I have loved you, you should also love one another. By this all shall know that you are My disciples, if you have love toward one another.” “By this…” By what? By our love for one another. From whence does this love come? From Jesus. How do we get it? By being His disciples. How do we become His disciples? From being close to Him–by being near to Him. By being “Jesus-Adjacent.”
Princeton’s WordNet defines “adjacent” as: next, side by side (nearest in space or position; immediately adjoining without intervening space) “had adjacent rooms”; “in the next room”; “the person sitting next to me”; “our rooms were side by side.”
I like that. Isn’t that how close we’re supposed to be with Jesus? “Immediately adjoining without intervening space.” That’s cool! That’s “Jesus-Adjacent.”
I’m Jesus-Adjacent. Are you?