Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Dirt, Unity and Devotions


because I do not hope to know again
the infirm glory of the positive hour


- Eliot Posted by Hello


Thesis: Christian unity is not a question of sitting around and being "affiliated" with other folks under a particular denominational umbrella. We live together, in the world, for it's good. Or we don't.

As ++William Temple famously said, "The Church is the only society in the world that exists purely for the benefit of its non-members." Again, we are blessed to be a blessing.

I'm thinking of writing an essay on just what I think Christian unity means. So far the marks of unity I've come up with are mission, sacraments, doctrine and fellowship. Anybody feel like posting a comment with your take on the subject, and how you might experience actual unity with other Christians? If you do?

For your reading pleasure, a Lenten re-run from last year, along this vein.

And if that doesn't get you going, we're having a discussion about "going through the motions" and "evangelical quiet time" over on Alan's blog. And by having a discussion, I mean "Captain Sacrament is poking some ribs." Of course.

15 comments:

rose said...

Back in January, I wrote a post on unity. http://reospeed.blogspot.com/2005/01/how-about-them-apples.html#comments there is the link. I hate it that Christians can't get a long. I am dating a Catholic right now. I am not Catholic...we discuss this unity issue constantly. I am hoping that we will start becoming more unified when Christians realize we are all saying nearly idenitcal things, we just have different ways of doing it. We have different rules. I must say the sacraments are there for most Christian denominations even if they don't claim that...Ok..I will stop..I can go on for hours about this.

Joshua Bailes said...

Kyle,
I think you are on to something in the unity department with reference to sacraments, fellowship, and mission. I do think that far too often we attempt to achieve theological unity on some pretty useless topics.
Furthermore, I think we would all do better to be unified if we spent time caring for each other and for our world. You are right that we must be about serving others. That is the blessing we recieved.
jb

Allison said...

I want to believe that unity has more to do with time spent investing in and getting into the lives of others than it has to do with theological mumbo jumbo and such. Is theological unity even entirely possible?! I'm inclined to say it isn't.
The sacraments, mission, and theology are important points of concern...but if we aren't really living as a community, all that jazz is just head knowledge...useless facts. Relational unity should be our starting point.

rose said...

Hey Kyle,
I am posting back to a comment you put on my blog. I grew up in a very conservative Baptist home. It seemed liked it was crammed in my head that Baptists were the only ones who were right. We shouldn't associate with other religions because they really aren't "Christian." When I left the Baptist church, I got ripped apart because I had chosen a more "liberal" as they put it denomination. They didn't think what I had chosen was "true" Christianity. I still keep in touch, and now they are WAY up in arms that I am dating a Catholic and that I agree with a lot the church has to say. I like stuff like liturgy and things that I never experienced. I just don't think it makes sense for Christians to not be united. This was not the idea. You can be a Christian and worship much differently than your Christian neighbor does. This happened in the Bible. Jews worshiped differently than Gentiles did. It really shouldnt be this hard for us to work together. Alright..I will stop now. I don't know if I am making any sense :)

Allison said...

Rose,
You're making a lot of sense to me. I grew up similar to the way you did and understand all the things you said about that upbringing. I also understand the difficulty and misunderstandings that come when you see legitimacy in a church that isn't traditional. I'm living that, and it's okay, I think. It's really just about knowing Jesus. Peace to you.

Allison said...

Okay. I'm a grammar Nazi. I meant to say "similarly" rather than "similar. -sigh-...

Kyle said...

Thanks for your input, folks. Rose and Allison, I must say that it never occurred to me to think about which Christian expression is more "legitimate" than another until I was considering ordination by particular denominations.

It seems strange to me, especially when everyone knows that your sins can only be forgiven if you offer them in oracular confession in the context of the Divine Liturgy, and only then to a presbyter duly ordained in the apostolic succession.

Like, duh, guys.

I am so funny. How does anyone stand me?

Josh, I agree with your point about all of the "useless topics." I think by definition, catholicity is supposed to be a broad designation.

Since we're none of us quick to talk about unity of doctrine, maybe we ought to examine that next...

Allison said...

No energy for that right now on my end. I'd love to read some nice controversy, though! Have at it.

Isaiah said...

Haha... "And by spent I just mean wasted..." By the way, Wright is definitely on board for the calendar project. Details soon.

rose said...

Kyle, when you said,

It seems strange to me, especially when everyone knows that your sins can only be forgiven if you offer them in oracular confession in the context of the Divine Liturgy, and only then to a presbyter duly ordained in the apostolic succession.

I was thinking are you freakin kidding me? Then I saw you were just kidding..I think..right?

ha..

rose said...

Oh yeah, I don't know if I can offer up any insight on Christian Unity..especially when it comes to doctrine..right now, I really don't think it exists..or I just don't know what it means..I need help..I feel like I am spinning around with no place to go in this world right now..

Anonymous said...

I am commenting from my phone so I will be brief. Good stuff. That is it. Peace.

+ Alan said...

Dang it's hard to type on a cell phone! "Anonymous" was me, sorry. Reading this and these comments makes me, once again, want to read Brian McLarin's book, A Generous Orthodoxy. I think we do and should have an ancient orthodox faith that we commonly hold on to, but I believe over the years we have expanded that which we call "necessary" for our common belief. It is now too fat. Our view of orthodoxy needs to go on a diet and get trim again. We can hold on to a small core of Truth and deal with the rest in community. All of it in community, or yeah, why do it? OK, that's enough from me, I have to go watch ER - very important. Peace.

Kyle said...

Yes, I'm kidding. If you see me post a sweeping argument that isn't supported by any argumentation, it's probably a joke.

rose said...

I love Brian Mclaren. Have you read A New Kind of Christian? I think that book is awesome. I do agree, Alan, that we take as essential elements of our doctrine is a bit fat. I just want to go back to the basics. By the way..you guys are from Kentucky??? I went to school in KY.