A few people have been asking ‘why reluctant?’ I guess it must be time for a few answers!!
I don’t actually really enjoy church! I find much more ‘of God’ in the beauty of nature, in a face, a smile, music, sculpture, in a pint of beer in a pub with a good friend. I simply don’t believe God is confined to a church (people or building) which fundamentally a large proportion the church does and I will be expected to be leading worship of God in such buildings with such people.
When I read the gospel stories about Jesus I see a man who treated everyone with love. A man who was entirely human, angry, loving, hurt, upset, laughing, a friend, a companion.
Those who profess that to be a Christian you must believe specific doctrinal statements about this man before you can call yourself a follower of him or ‘a Christian’ are I believe falling into the trap of judging others. They turn Jesus the ‘man for others’ into an Idol. They raise him high up on the cross and bow to him forgetting his life before the cross with the commoners and those prepared to listen to his ethic of modesty and love.
The Church is full of such people and I am reluctant to be called one of them.
Why not leave the judgment to God and lead a moral life in imitation of Jesus.
Why the church then? Why not social work and humanism?
If those who question used such questions as these rather than throwing general and badly formed theological arguments at me I perhaps would have been happier to respond!!
It was the church who selected me for training for ordination. Many other people suggested that I should be doing this as well. In the end all roads seemed to have led to, well not Rome!
It also feels right, finally I feel that I am on the right road at least!
Social work – the middle class meddlers of the poor! Perhaps this description is a bit outdated, but I would rather be one of the poor and work among them and for them, leaving behind a money driven economy of living. From this point of view it is easier (certainly not easy) to preach a message of modest living and care for brother and sister in the imitation of Jesus.
Humanism? I refuse to accept that just because I cannot justify it to myself to believe in the way others believe, that I can be so swiftly excluded from the kingdom Jesus has created on this earth.
It is as simple as that.
‘You will know the Christians by their love.’
Not only love for one another, but for all of creation.