Thursday, July 19, 2007

Christ and Christianity

My Pageflakes page had the following quote from Quotiki:

I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. They are so unlike your Christ.

- Mahatma Gandhi

I can definitely relate to this statement.  When I look at some of the infighting going on within churches and denominations I have to come back to the same thought, that we call ourselves Christians but we still don't get it.

There is one primary teaching Christ brought which changed everything.  We must love one another as he loved us.  We must live our lives in love and as an expression of that love for each-other.

If someone is letting their responsibilities slide we must find a time to meet with them face to face and lovingly figure out what is going on and find a solution.  Avoiding the problem never helps and it's certainly not what Christ taught.

I was talking to someone recently as we looked at some options for a leadership position.  One of the concerns came up that we need to find a person who is willing to think outside the norm and be willing to lead and defend change.

So many people I know fall into Christianity because it is the right thing to do.  Especially in the Episcopal Church, and Catholics to be fair, we have the same service each week, with communion and the same format.  It's been like that for years and brings a strong sense of comfort.  I know that no matter what church I go to I will have the same prayers, the same format and shared communion.

The problem is that I can become so used to that that I'm unwilling to change.  A few years back it was suggested our contemporary service stop doing communion every week to make time for other unique opportunities.  I hated the idea.  Now that I think about it I was so used to what I knew I was unwilling to change.

All Christ ever thought about was change.  His purpose for being was to change every aspect of my life so that is focused wholly on loving him and everyone around me. 

Having a willingness to experience new things is key to this love taking place.

As I think about becoming a priest I sometimes wonder if the Episcopal Church is ready for me.  I like traditional services, but if I were to lead a church I would very strongly do away with the traditional service and focus energies on some of the lively and unique options which come from non-denominational churches.

I'd keep the Eucharist, but modify it so that our prayers focus on how Christ is moving our church that week.

Pretty much everything else is open to modification.  Robes? optional.  Hymns? optional.  Readings? optional or presented in a different format. How can we focus on the church building when our neighbors are crying for help?

I wonder how many feathers I'm going to be able to ruffle and how many lives I'll get to change.

Peace,
+Tom

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