Sunday, May 15, 2011

Response to the National Post Article about the United Church of Canada

If you CLICK HERE, you will find the United Church of Canada made the National Post's Religion page today. While normally I would ignore such articles, especially considering the source, I think there are a few important things to respond to here in regards to the church I grew up in, and the church that I love.

I do agree there's an unfortunate trend with some progressive Christians to avoid 'God/Jesus' language, and I think it's important we use it; not only does it explain our motivation for the work we do, but it also demonstrates there are multiple ways of being Christian - unfortunately being ashamed of Christianity only plays into the idea fundamentalism embraces that there is only one meaning to that name, and honestly, we do a disservice to Christ's ministry to not speak up for what we believe in - we own that title too! And I too will express disbelief in Gretta Vosper, a renowned Atheist, being a minister in a church who yes, still has in its creed that 'We believe in God, who has created and is creating ... we believe in Jesus, the Word made flesh'.

However ... I take issue with two major points in the NP article.

This is the most silly one. I think a bigger problem in churches today, more than dogma being too loose OR strict, or what have you, is a matter of relevance - people relating to it. And if taking your faith to the streets - living it, acting on it, 'walking the walk' as opposed to simply preaching and praying - isn't relevant, I don't know what is. Granted, we could probably do a better job of discussing what inspires us to be active in the realms of the environment and social justice, but it doesn't mean that we're on the wrong track in doing it. And ...

Okay - granted I obviously don't completely disagree with this; truly buying into our creed of at believing in some creative force beyond ourselves, and Jesus as greatest example of living in right relationship with that force and its creation, I don't think is too much to ask if we're going to identify as a 'Christian Church' (and for the record I have no problem with those who don't - I'm married to a Jewish man, find much to respect in Islam, and embrace just about anything that brings peace and fulfilment - I guess I just think those who shy away from invoking Christ's name or even using the term God might feel more comfortable in a Unitarian setting or book club than a church, for their own sake moreso than a 'kick'em out' attitude). But beyond that, I don't care if 'God' to you is some old man in the sky, or some Jedi-like 'force', or if you believe Jesus is divine or simply an incredibly inspiring teacher whose message has survived 2000 years (a miracle in itself) - and again, I think this argument misses the point about relevance discussed above anyway. On that score, I think the UCC's grass roots campaign to be God's hands and feet in the world is on the right track.

UPDATE: Moderator Mardi Tindal's response to this article can be found on her Wondercafe blog by CLICKING HERE.

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