Religious / Spiritual Identity
Belonging provides identity. Christians are not identified by the way in which they dress because Christianity and the culture of the UK are so interwoven. Christians however are recognisable by the way in which they behave and act, and believe. Belonging to a Christian community, means an individual can share worship, fellowship and a set of beliefs that provides the individual with a way to interact with others. Through witness to the faith, a Christian is demonstrating what they hold to be the truthfulness of the gospel message of unconditional love, and the hope that this will be recognised accordingly. Blessed Mother Teresa and Martin Luther King Jr. are two such examples.
A Christian is a person who commits him or herself to a belief in God as father, to Jesus as his son, and to the working of the Holy Spirit through the body of the church. Thus people who commit themselves to these beliefs will act in accordance with them, and pray to God as father in the hope that God will hear these prayers as a father listens to the entreaties of his children, act in a manner acceptable to Jesus as his own life demonstrated, and apply themselves to the bringing about of the Kingdom of God through the working through body of the church. To be a Christian implies communal or congregational worship alongside individual devotions, as well as to live according to Jesus’ principles of unselfish love.
Christian commitment is demonstrated through certain ceremonies or rites of passage. A Christian will normally attend a place of worship, either a church or a chapel, regularly to pray and meet others of a similar persuasion or denomination, at a specific time. A Christian will be baptised or Christened in order to show publicly that commitment. Christians would also normally desire to marry in a church as well as to request burial with a Christian service. Commitment involves giving time to help the church in some way. This might mean being a server in a service, reading prayers, being a church warden or serving on church committees. It might mean singing in a choir, providing flowers for the church, or it could even mean investigating becoming a full-time church worker or ordained minister. A financial commitment is also expected and although tithing is no longer expected in today’s church, a Christian may provide an informal financial agreement with their church.
Unlike other faith groups, Christians are not always recognisable by the clothes or ornamentation they wear. The only exceptions to this are the clergy, who often wear a clerical collar while working and the religious who may wear particular habits. Christians prefer to be recognizable by their actions. Publicly this would mean attendance at church with daily conduct, both visible and spiritual, based on the teaching of Jesus.