I am making my life’s work out of asking two questions: What it mean to be a Christian, What it mean to be the church. And here we are church differently. It’s not surprising that some people do not think of us as church. We disrupt their definition, their ideas, of what church is. As people who think of themselves as Christian and as church, we probably also disrupt their own sense of identity because they do not see themselves in us.
One response can be - who cares? We can do what we do regardless of what others think or say. But for me, since theology will also be what I do with my life, I have to be able to answer the question; How are we, The Pub Church, church? Any response we have is a work in process of course! But here's a go at it...
I think of church as a people, who with the Spirit, participate in a new reality. We participate in embodying and making real something that is more in tune with a sacred vision for the universe. Now, of course, I understand that embodied vision through the divine incarnation of Jesus. But not all of us do – and to me, the fact that we can still come together, taking our differences into account, while seeking out our commonalities, is more church to me than anything else.
I think that very fact, that we all are willing to be together and participate in what each other brings to the table, in itself communicates what and who we are as church. We come together with many different perspectives, frameworks of thinking, experiences, values, but still open to one another. We are not imposing ourselves on each other, but are willing to come together in difference, with difference. We come together and we explore and we share a way of living and relating that can include us all. And because it actually includes us, we shape it along the way. We move in and with the sacred to explore and to learn, to experiment and try new things. And to me, this reflects a new and divine way of being and relating in the world that is what I call church – A people gathered in Spirit participating to embody a divine way, always in process, always held in openness.
This is my church – we are church. And I learn what it means to be Christian and what it means to be Church by being willing to hold my Christianity in openness here with you.
That’s why I picked those readings for today – because they capture some of the answers to my own questions.
So now I want to turn it to you all and ask what you all’s questions are? How do you answer your own questions – or do you have answers to them. What are the questions we want to keep asking?
Some of our responses were:
- What it means to be church is not my question. My question would be What is community and what does it mean to be a participant in community? How do we be community. But I see commonality in the community questions and the church questions so that we are able to come together even though we have much difference.
- There is a reality of power and abuse of power that Christianity has, so it is important for those of us that do have the church/christian question to be aware that we do not dominate or impose our questions on others.
- We have to continually seek out and ask questions so that we do connect in our commonalities but aware and open to our differences.