The new issue of Newsweek includes an article about a trend toward using the nomenclature "follower of Christ" over the more specific "Methodist," "Episcopalian," "Lutheran," or even "Christian." And the one-page article features not one but two Minnesotans.
The first reference is to Ward Brehm, in the lede, and he introduces readers to the concept by conveniently verbalizing the article's premise:
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."
This isn't the first time Brehm has garnered attention for being a God fearer. After being appointed chair of the United States African Development Foundation by President George W. Bush, he delivered the keynote speech at the National Prayer Breakfast.
Minnesota appears again a scant few paragraphs later:
David Durenberger, the former Republican senator from Minnesota, puts it this way. "As my party in particular has begun to characterize its base as 'Christian' and to express its values as 'Christian' values ... it has been really important to identify myself as a follower of Jesus."
And then its back to Brehm for the kicker:
Brehm admits, guiltily, that he left his longtime church five years ago and is still shopping. For the time being, he finds communion in regular meetings with fellow followers of Jesus: "That's real church." To accusations that he's letting identity politics overshadow Christian tradition, Brehm delivers what he believes to be his knockout punch: Jesus, after all, said, "Follow me."
What are we, the Land of 10,000 Followers? Or are these the only two "Followers of Christ" in the state?