In talking with my mom, I once described a lady we both knew as “very pregnant.” Questioning my terminology, my mom made the accurate point that you either are or are not pregnant – its not something that is given degrees of existence. She was right, but I continued to use the phrase. After all, I wasn’t trying to describe the existence of the life inside of the woman – the fact that she was pregnant indicated that it was there. I was trying to describe the level of visible evidence for it.
I was reminded of this little story by a quotation I read from Nicole Richie. In describing her recent habit of picking up crucifixes and wearing them around her neck, she confessed that she got them from her boyfriend, Good Charlotte singer Joel Madden, who she described as “very, very, Christian.” Leaving aside the thoughts on wearing religious jewelry as a fashion accessory, I was still taken aback by her words. After all, just as my mom had pointed on to me about pregnancy, with Christianity you either are or you aren’t. Jesus doesn’t leave much room for in between (See Rev. 3:16.)
Although I still think my initial reaction was the right one, I also think that there is something to the description. After all, maybe Miss Richie and others use the phrase similarly to how I was. Maybe saying someone is “very, very Christian” is an indication of the level of visible evidence for their commitment. One can argue with how that evidence is interpreted, but you its hard to argue with its existence.