What does it mean to be Christian?

Left elsewhere, while discussing the meaning of the label "Christian":

About the distinction between "Christian is someone who is mostly a good person" and "Christian is someone who believes the Creed, and has repented and received God's grace.":  I feel like I've met this discussion before.
In Colonial America, during the lead-up to the First Great Awakening, many churches were struggling about how to define membership.
Most churches had charters which required prospective members to profess some sort of personal experience in receiving God's grace. A "born-again experience". Many of the original settlers had such a story.
However, fewer of the grand-children and great-grand-children of the original settlers had such a story. But they wanted church membership. 
A compromise was reached: some sort of half-way covenant. People who didn't live "notorious lifestyles" could become partial members of the church, even if they had no personal experience of repentance and receiving God's grace.
The Great Awakening ended this practice. Mostly because of the large number of people who repented of sinful attitudes, received God's grace, and gave glad testimony about entering into a new relationship with Jesus.
Tellingly, the mark of a Christian became "professes repentance, shows evidence of changed life and receiving God's grace". Instead of "doesn't live a lifestyle that is too far from our social norms."
(I may be over-simplifying the story...the history of the transition from fervent Puritan settlers to the half-way-covenant, and then to the Great Awakening, is a complex one.)

I'm not much of a preacher, but I'm becoming more and more a student of living out the Christian life. And I'm surprised at how little most Americans know about things like the Great Awakening.

The Great Awakening was part of a tumult of cultural changes. (Which may have sowed the seeds that sprouted, a generation later, into the American Revolution.) One of those changes was a re-awakening of the understanding that social respectability is not the key to being right with God.

This emphasis has been lost, and re-awakened, and lost again, several times in American history. The religiosity of the Second Great Awakening also heralded great social change. (Among those changes: a Temperance movement and an Abolition movement.)

Other, lesser awakenings of religious fervor have come in many regions of the nation. When social acceptability meant acceptance of slavery, a growth in religious fervor pushed against that.

When social acceptability meant arguing in favor of no-fault divorce, or relaxing the boundaries of socially-accceptable sexual behavior, religious fervor pushed against that also.

Not all such religious movements have been cultural winners in America. Nor did every part of American history see fervor like the original Great Awakening.

It is worth remembering that these things have happened before, even if it leads me to lament the confusion between socially-acceptable behavior and the life that God approves of.

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