Last night at Book Club we had a lively discussion about a number of things (even the book!) and finished talking about what kind of faith community we want to be and maybe are making strides toward being. A couple of people talked about some pain they had experienced in other churches and the fact that Christ Church was different in some ways.
To me that difference is that we are a ‘benefit of the doubt church.’ I explained that to me we can have people of all political persuasions sitting next to each other, working together for the church and our many outreach programs, without all the ‘stuff’ that comes today with political differences. We also have people with differing theological differences-as I have written no this blog before-some of our folks believe every word of the Bible is true; some don’t. Some are in between.
Yet we never seem to have fights about theology or politics at Christ Church.
An example is our Bible Conversation (every other Wednesday after Morning Prayer) that has been basically an open forum for over five years (maybe more). Heck we call it Bible Conversation rather than Bible Study because we don’t study a whole lot but we do talk about the Bible asking questions that in many churches might seem out of order. Not at Christ Church. Our Bible is an alive document, we think, because we don’t allow it to be considered just words on a page. It is our teacher and we have a right to ask our teachers questions.
So how do you define this ‘way’ of ours. I think Benefit of the Doubt Way is the best description. See we give each other the benefit of the doubt that if someone is at Christ Church, even if we don’t agree on politics of religion, they must be good people, they must be loving people.
I also think we have avoided conflict because we don’t try to change each other. Nobody is saying ‘well, that’s not right you should think/do this.’ That doesn’t seem to happen at CCL.
But, some might ask, does that mean the people at Christ Church think and believe whatever they want? Not even close. Because the common truth, the thread that runs through everything we do is that Jesus is calling each of us to a way of life, a clearly defined way of life. And that life is summarized in one word: love. So as long as you love and seek to understand what Jesus expects of you (as an individual) and us (as a church), we aren’t unorthodox at all. In fact we believe we are the mainstream. This one defining characteristic of the Jesus Way is the foundation for everything else.
Perhaps we need to talk about this more. Maybe even suggest it to others as a way…I don’t know. Nah, we don’t need to talk about it more; we need to just do it…(hey that would be a good slogan for a shoe company.)