Rob Bell once wrote that “‘Christian’ is a great noun, but a poor adjective.” For anyone like me who struggled with those terms at school, I think he was suggesting that the word makes a great badge for an individual, but a bad way of delineating a marketing segment.
Bell’s words (written in Velvet Elvis) are a reaction against the Church subculture’s predisposition to hand out the ‘Christian’ label. Sometimes this has some fairly extraordinary applications (you can buy Christian socks, Christian sweets and Christian Top Trumps), but often the word’s use is more culturally entrenched. We use it as shorthand to describe things which clearly complement our worldview, or which are marketed directly as such. We’ve become very used these phrases. But in some cases, I think they’re also deeply problematic.