Sunday, January 28, 2018

"deep breath, deep breath" revisited

I told the congregation at St. Andrew's. Northford today about the argument I had on Tuesday I wrote about in 'deep breath, deep breath'.

It's astonishing to me that such an upsetting event as fighting over supernatural events vs. ordinary moments as the prompters of faith could give me a whole sermon.

What I notice every time I preach about "being a Christian" having more to do with how we 'be' in the world and the way we live as opposed to 'what we believe' (and I talk about that quite a bit!) I always get several people telling me 'thank you' afterward and some of them getting a bit emotional and unable to say much more. They are just moved that someone gave them permission to be Christians in their living instead of their 'believing'.

I think 'believing' is something many folks have trouble with.

I remember in seminary, at my field work church--Christ Church, Capitol Hill in DC--leading a discussion on the Nicene Creed. This was before the 1979 Book of Common Prayer, so the Creed began with "I believe" rather than "We believe".

I told the dozen or so people that I was going to read the Creed and when they heard something they weren't sure about to raise their hand.

"I believe in God,," I said and half the people raised their hands!

Now these were card-carrying, every Sunday Episcopalians--faithful and devoted to the church. These weren't agnostics or atheists. But no one had ever asked them what they 'believed'.

Now, most of the people in that room worked in someway in the federal government. They believed in trying to make America the best it could be. They cared about folks who had less power and less prosperity than they did. They were some of the best people I've known.

But this 'belief' thing was a problem for them.

I truly am committed to a church that tells people 'being a Christian' has much more to do about how we behave in the world than the stuff we 'believe'. Some of the people I know who live faithful, 'Christian' lives wouldn't call themselves Christians. But I'm convinced God would.

"Belief" as a measure of who is Christian and who isn't is highly overrated. Let me see if you live a life the way Jesus taught us to and I'll tell you--whether you know it or not--whether you're a Christian.

THAT I believe and believe fair well....

(Billy Graham's granddaughter came out to condemn all the Evangelical 'Christians' who support Donald Trump in spite of how he violates most of their 'family values'. Bless her. She 'gets it'.)

So, I really am going to thank they guy I yelled at for showing me that I can find God even in a stupid argument....

No comments:

Post a Comment

Blog Archive

About Me

some ponderings by an aging white man who is an Episcopal priest in Connecticut. Now retired but still working and still wondering what it all means...all of it.