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I recently stumbled across a web page that actually lists names and labels of some of the strange addictions that people possess in our fast-moving cyber society. I was personally amazed at the sheer number and variety of these apparent “illnesses,” and secretly wondered who came up with this stuff. Here are just a few names and descriptions:

“Wikipedian” -  This label is attributted to anyone who has edited more than 4000 pages on the popular Wikipedia web site. As of this writing, there are 2400 of these people, and it would seem that for some, editing the big W has become somewhat of a compulsion.

“Crackberry” – The executive malady that curses those who have the unstoppable tendency of checking their BlackBerrys…even when it’s socially inappropriate to do so. For these poor souls, looking at that little handheld device has become as addictive as an illegal drug.

“Cyberchondriac”  -  A person that sifts through site after site about a particular health issue (or symptoms) that they may (or may not be) experiencing in hopes that they can self-diagnose a health situation. This person often ignores the advice that their doctor gave them on their last visit, and instead opts for discovering the “real truth” by sifting through the pages of every site that they can find on the health topic of their choice. Being an informed person is one thing, but the cyberchondriac takes it to a whole new level.

What’s in a name? What’s in a label? In this particular instance, a label or name describes the attributes or behavior of the person possessing it.

As I pondered that reality, it dawned on me that the name “Christian” can have some pretty negative implications when describing those who claim to follow God. I’ve checked a variety of chat rooms and discussion boards where the subject of Christianity has come up, and the adjectives used to describe it are not what I would call flattering. Here are just a few:

Fanatics, nut-jobs, self-important, hypocritical, ignorant, intolerant, legalistic.

Are those descriptions true? Apparantly they are to the ones using them. Somewhere along life’s path, those types of “Christians” have been encountered by a good number of people who are now turned off to their understanding of “Christianity.”

The scriptures paint a very different picture of those who are really following God. Being loving, compassionate, kind, and selfless are not just good things to aspire to, but boldly claimed as the fruit of a legitimate divine connection.

What does the word “Christian” conjure up in the minds of those who come in contact with me? It’s a question that deserves an honest answer.

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By Michael Temple. Copyright © 2007 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

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