Jesus on Facebook

A Christian by Any Other Name

On Facebook, more than 900 groups use a variation of ‘follower of Jesus.’ It doesn’t carry baggage.

Ward Brehm doesn’t call himself a Christian. “I just call myself a follower of Jesus,” says Brehm, a Minneapolis businessman and former chairman of the U.S.-Africa Development Foundation. “It’s a huge difference.” Christian definitions used not to matter so much. People used to be Methodists or Lutherans, Episcopalians or Baptists. Each denomination had its own culture, its ownjokes. A Congregationalist friend once defined himself to me this way: “We’re the ones who fold up the chairs after church to make room for the basketball court.” Outsiders could—and did—make assumptions about their neighbors’ personal habits and politics based on denomination. The United Church of Christ was left-wing. The Southern Baptists leaned to the right. Methodists, Episcopalians and Lutherans fell somewhere in between.