Monday, January 7, 2013
Morning after the Day Before: Baptist Epiphany
Most of one's professional ministry the leader in a specific denomination must be willing to speak on how his/her denomination is preferable to others. In some denominations, there is a prohibition to attend, commune, or participate in the worship of other denominations. And while I understand some of the fear that those leaders have, I have never found that fear of the other makes for a good spiritual underpinning. When new Christian came to my church I always wanted to know what brought them to my parish. It was often the reaction to another church simply because of how they practiced their faith. I had to search to find where I would be able to worship the God that I knew.
I truly believe in denominationalism. Each denomination has a particular point of view of the Christ Event. They have theologies that emphasize certain aspects of the life of Christ. None of us contain all truth, but they convey a particular way to live out the Christian life. I love my Episcopal/Anglican understanding of the Incarnation through the Sacraments and mission. But I also know that there are many who do not understand the worship of my denomination and know that they would not feel as comfortable within that tradition as I. That does not mean that occasionally I can't worship with them to live out the solidarity that I have with all who call Christ the center of their lives. It is a part of the reality of ecumenism that IS the center of the Triune God.
After a taste of Baptist, I am ready to return to my home church, the people, the traditions, the Incarnational living out of Christ's message that it holds. But I know profoundly of the solidarity with my sisterhood with those Baptists of Dallas. We have spent too much of God's time playing 'us-them'; it is time to reach out hands to claim our commonality, our sameness, our joy in the relationship with the God who loved us more than life. In retirement I can do that, and it feels right.