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About three months ago my alma mater released series of recently produced commercials on YouTube. This one, “AU: Unapologetically Christ-Centered,” was the topic of significant debate and discussion among a number of alumni.
The hang up for many of us was the phrase, “unapologetically Christ-centered.” We reached a general consensus that we all grew and developed in our understandings of faith and Christianity while at Anderson University. This growth was an integral part of our experience, and as such one could say that our experiences at AU were “Christ-centered.” The problem was the word, “unapologetically.” The term was troublesome to many of us because of the connotations and cultural/historical baggage it carries with it. It is often associated with right-wing, religious fundamentalism (three of the top ten results on Google for “unapologetically” fall into this category). However, when one compares AU to other small, Christian, liberal arts universities, the environment at AU is not one of religious, right-wing fundamentalism–or at least it wasn’t when I attended. Many of us felt the commercial misrepresented our experience.
(I’m not sure why this topic–which was put to rest 3 months ago–was running laps in my head 6 minutes after I woke up this morning. I was barely conscious enough to remember that you shave with a razor, not a toothbrush. Maybe I just watched Inception too recently. Anyways.)
I want to take issue once again with the phrase “unapologetically Christ-centered.” The phrase seems to imply that people out there are apologizing for being Christian. Otherwise, there would be no reason to distinguish oneself as unapologetic. Now, I can understand apologizing for Christianity. A quick review of history demonstrates that Christians have committed plenty of horrible deeds. However, that’s not the issue at hand. It doesn’t say “unapologetic, Christ-centered.”
My question is this: Who are all these people who are going around apologizing for being Christian?
I mean, imagine if someone walked into Starbucks and said, “Yeah, I’d like a venti caramel macchiato. Can you put my caramel in the shape of a cross? You know, like God. Sorry, I know it’s an inconvenience, but I’m a Christian.” (Unfortunately, the only part of this story that is fictional is that the person apologized for being a Christian). Nobody does that! I mean, I’ve known a lot of people over the course of my life. Furthermore, I’ve known a disproportionately high number of Christians over the course of my life. I can’t recall a single instance where someone apologized for being a Christian. If enough people are going around apologizing for being Christians that a school needs to differentiate itself as unapologetic, you’d think I would’ve witnessed that apology at least once.
Furthermore, if anyone is apologizing for being Christian, that to me indicates that they have a low self-image. People who are secure in their identity don’t to apologize for who they are. If that’s the case, I don’t think you’ll boost their confidence much by bragging about how unapologetic your are. Way to stomp the little guy while he’s down.
I’m being satirical and ridiculous about this subject, which is not my typical modus operandi. However, I am sincerely trying to imagine someone being apologetically Christ-centered. Somehow every believable scenario comes out ridiculous.
So, why identify oneself as unapologetically Christ-centered, if no one else is apologizing for it?
As an afterthought, does anyone else think the proximity of “unapologetically” and “Christ” is a little ironic? I mean, isn’t seeking forgiveness and reconciliation sort of the central teaching of Jesus Christ? Or is that just me? Yeah? The Bible doesn’t talk about that anywhere? Huh. Coulda sworn it was in there somewhere.