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Omaha, Nebraska, United States
I am more and more convinced that most congregations die from a staggering lack of imagination. Let's change that. Drop me a line on email or leave a comment if you have thoughts on God, Jesus, congregations, the church or whatever.... I look forward to our conversations.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

We "is" the Church!

A pastor once joked to me that he really liked the church, except for the people...Over the years ministry can be a bit wearing on the soul, I guess...
There is little doubt that Chrisianity--as a religion--believes in community...even more it believes that people are created communally as well...Think of the story of the creation of Eve in the Bible...Adam is not complete until Eve arrives...(which is also a souce of many jokes...except the one about men not asking for directions...that's a genetic thing)...You cannot do Christianity alone, it must be lived communally.
At this point, I'm wondering what the relationship is between 2 persons in community? Does it change when a third person is added? (C.S.Pierce, a rather under appreciated philosopher in my book, had this concept of "thirdness," which I've always found somewhat helpful in thinking about these kinds of questions.) What are the rules and roles for persons within community, and how should they be defined?
Unfortunately, most congregations (a religious form of "community") tend to define their roles and rules by something OTHER than the Bible or Christian faith. For example,many congregations hold meetings run by Robert's Rules of Order, which definitely seems to run counter to the thought of someone like Isaiah, or, even, John Calvin, the French reformer who is defined by "order." There are some questions of Christian faith that are not able to be voted upon, so beware of the congregation run by rules of order rather than faith...
The rules of Christianity spring from God, whether formally like the 10 Commandments, or through mercy and forgiveness, such as an informal loving of your neighbor. Now whether your image of God is a law-giver (do this or die!) or of a loving parent (I love you, but don't do that again!), or even of a benevolent care-giver (That's all right, I love you!) who you are and how you behave stems from your relationship with God. That's as it should be...
So when people tell me that I'm not a good Christian because I believe sexual miniorities should have full rights and privileges in congregations, I am not worried (and at this point in my life not even angry, rather, I look forward to talking about it)... I say my belief comes from a reading of scripture, and an understanding of God as a thrice-diversified being, who seeks the inclusion of all the cosmos into God's own life...The rule comes from my reading of scripture, from my living in the faith for these past forty-five years...I do understand that not everyone has the same image of God that I do, and for some, their image of God does not let them believe as I do about such things...But the point is NOT to deny the church because we don't agree...
Rather, we affirm the church because we do not aree...Living in Christ is not about agreement, but about living together in spite of our differences...We "is" the Church, because "we" is me in relation to everyone else...

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