Fromm the Editor: Little Christs
- The first use of the brand name Christian was not cooked in a strategy meeting of believers, but something that was said of them by their watching neighbors. Their actions looked like the actions of Christ; hence they were called Christians or "little Christs."
CEO/Publisher of Worship Leader magazine, Song Discovery, and National Worship…
In 2003 my father, Chuck Fromm, wrote his typical column found in Worship Leader Magazine, “Fromm the Editor.” Where was I in 2003? Well, I would’ve been about 11 years old and probably wrangling up my dogs to listen to me sing a song I’d recently wrote on my now beat up Taylor guitar.
While I wasn’t ready in 2003 to take in my dad’s wise words. I’m ready now and I’m inviting you along with me.
Why Did My Dad Write About This Topic?
The title of this 2003 edition of Fromm the Editor is “Little Christs.” Now I’m not sure what prompted my dad to write this article at the time (and oh how I long to be able to sit down and pick his brain now) – what I do know is how both my parents raised us Fromm kids.
Growing up in Southern California was a whole lot different from the Bible Belt of Nashville where I now reside. Or as my dad would refer to Nashville as the Buckle of the Bible Belt, “You can find a Church on every corner and one in between.”
Regardless of location, it was engrained in me from an early age of what it means to be a Christian. So often my mother would remind us of the wise words Peter Drucker shared with my dad – “don’t call yourself a Christian, let your actions identify you as a Christian.”
Knowing my dad, I have a feeling these words from Peter Drucker definitely played a part in why he felt the need to make “Little Christs” the topic of his column.
I’d love to hear what y’all think of this column and how it applies to your life today. Please comment below.
Fromm the Editor: Little Christs by Dr. Chuck Fromm
The first use of the brand name Christian was not cooked in a strategy meeting of believers, but something that was said of them by their watching neighbors. Their actions looked like the actions of Christ; hence they were called Christians or “little Christs.” Though not intended as such, it was quite a compliment. And with thoughtful retrospection, one may also view the claiming of oneself as a Christian as a type of arrogance.
We in the Church are striving toward the honor of the title “little Christs” and when we are called this by our neighbors, then perhaps our ethics the connection between what we profess and our actual actions are serving us well.
In the late 19th century the German Evangelical Lutheran Max Weber made the connection of Christian ethics to the workplace in his famous book, The Protestant Ethic and the “Spirit” of Capitalism. Basically what Weber said was that Christian faith, in particular the disciplines espoused by John Calvin, allowed for traditional secular ethics of life to be abandoned. Tradition is often thought of as the right thing to do because that is what we always do. However traditions, as well as Christian ethics, only make sense in light of the Scriptures.
Management & Biblical Teachings
Weber’s theories of social ethics matured into what we now call “modern management” and the writings of Peter Ducker. Management theory proceeds from basic biblical teachings and the ideas that one’s gifts are best made effective when their weaknesses are abandoned. Drucker, still living and productive in Claremont, California, told me once, “The best you can do with a weakness is dial it to a ‘O.’” And of course this is biblical teaching put into practical organizational ethics. The ability to confess or name one’s weakness is the kind of humility required to make that same weakness ultimately irrelevant.
As Robert Webber points out, the deliverance of God’s people from Egypt was for the purpose of worshiping God on Mount Moriah. That is the only instruction they had. And as James points out in his epistle, we are both a hearing community and a doing community. Faith (which comes by hearing) without works is dead. The point is that our vision of worship must extend into even the social life of the community. As we serve God in worship and then go out from the Sabbath meeting place to serve others, our actions are firmly rooted in our regular meeting with God.
As we serve God in worship and then go out from the Sabbath meeting place to serve others, our actions are firmly rooted in our regular meeting with God.
Lifestyle of Worship
A current popular phrase is that “worship is a lifestyle.” The phrase is problematic since “lifestyle” is usually thought of as a noun rather than a verb; however, I understand what is meant by this phrase: worship should impact our manner of living and all aspects of our lives. It does. And it will, down to the practice by which we physically buy daily bread.
May the worshipful words of our mouths and mediations of our hearts be discovered in the daily actions of our lives, and as the world watches may they call us Christians.
I’m grateful to still be able to learn from my dad and the many words of wisdom he left. I’m blessed to be able to share them with you, too.
I deeply appreciate the aspirational encouragement to be identified as ‘little Christs’; people truly transformed into…or at least towards…the likeness of Christ. But I wonder about how to balance ‘dialing weakness to 0’ with Paul’s insight into weakness in 2 Corinthians 12. It is so easy for us to fall prey to the temptation to look like we have it together, believing this is how people will see Christ in us, rather than letting him shine through our weakness. Perhaps the real key is authenticity, which certainly must have been a fundamental aspect of how early Believers gained the name ‘Christians.’ Thanks for this thought-provoking post from a man I long and truly admired.
Love this and your heart! We miss him, too.