Readings: I Corinthians 12 and Revelations 1:17-20 (Each and every community of faith is taught and guided by its own teachers, and its spirit or nature is shaped by its own “angel.” gives each church the teachers and spirit that it needs.)
In his book "What Christianity Is Not," Douglas John Hall argues that because Christian doctrine is complex (for many reasons), we often end up with a divide between “the knowledgeable few” who discuss right and wrong doctrine, and “the submissive majority” who simply go along with what someone else says, without really being able to articulate, explain or defend it themselves.
This is unfortunate because Christian doctrine at its best is what kind of truth or vision is most trustworthy for our lives. It's about how we imagine the world and life in it, how we understand what’s really going on and at stake at the deepest level, and how we can live by a wisdom and understanding that heals, rather than further fragments, our soul – and that also heals all life.
When we make doctrine about heavenly or esoteric truth rather than about common earthly life, we end up looking elsewhere – and giving others reason to look elsewhere, for answers about the meaning of life and for guidance in living well in the world.
So it’s important that doctrine be discussed regularly by all members of a church because it’s the only way to achieve both group identity and individual participation in it. This will require, however, “a far greater emphasis upon personal dialogue, small-group discourse and mentoring than has been the case in many Christian churches heretofore.”
So ... a few questions:
Who are “the gurus” today?
Who do your friends listen to, to help them understand the world, what it’s for, and how to live well in it?
Where do you find your life-wisdom?
Who are our church's teachers of what's really true and trustworthy in life?
Who do we listen to, to understand what’s really going on, on the deepest level?
What doctrine is really dear or important to you?
Makes a difference to how you live?
What doctrine is just mystery or mumble-jumble to you, and you wish you understood better or more fully?
In “A New Creed “(the 1968 United Church of Canada creed -- below), what line(s) especially touches you and helps guide the way you live in the world?
We are not alone,
we live in God’s world.
We believe in God:
who has created and is still creating,
who has come in Jesus,
the Word made flesh,
to reconcile and make new,
who works in us and others by the Spirit.
We trust in God.
We are called to be the Church:
to celebrate God’s presence,
to live with respect in Creation,
to love and serve others,
to seek justice and resist evil,
to proclaim Jesus, crucified and risen,
our judge and our hope.
In life, in death, in life beyond death, God is with us.
We are not alone.
Thanks be to God.