I recently read a post entitled: Top Five Reasons Why I Am Not A Progressive Methodist
I was drawn to it, because I am working with our Chaplain and two of my friends to start a covenant group and Bible study on campus that is rooted in a desire to repaint, rebuild and rethink the Christian faith in a way that understands the history and traditions of the church, the Message of Jesus Christ, and contemporary culture and finding where these intersect to show us the most loving and holy way to minister to people in 2013.
Our biggest problem was finding words for that besides “Progressive Christian.”
Because that phrase carries with it the trappings of denominational splits over hard-to-maneuver battlegrounds of post-modern politics and battles of books written on all sides of everything we don’t know about what Jesus would say about our lives.
I am instead going to tell you the 5 reasons why I am rethinking church, because I think that’s what I’m really doing more than anything.
1. I don’t believe anyone holds “exclusive rights” to the Gospel (or even the “social gospel”)
2. I believe that Heaven and Hell are real and that Jesus actually came to teach us that it was not us who are to judge the quick or the dead or anyone else we feel like we need to.
3. I chose to apply ancient authority of the scriptures to modern context and culture, instead of squeezing modern assumptions of the scripture into ancient context and culture.
4. I also “hope and pray to embrace the heart of the Wesleyan movement — a passionate belief in free will, a celebration of the assurance of salvation, and a promise to spread scriptural holiness,” but I remember that Wesley had to preach in some graveyards when things at church weren’t changing. I won’t mind preaching in a graveyard if that is where the Message God gives me to deliver can be heard.
5. I know that reading the Bible “literarily” means taking things like the commandment to love God and neighbor as literal, and to hold up everything else (in and out of scripture) to that as a litmus test, and to appreciate the historical and cultural significance of it as a God-inspired, though human created document.
I’m Rethinking Church because I don’t have all the answers and I don’t expect to ever reach that point. I’m Rethinking because I know that if God brought me to this school, to meet the people who are now two of my best friends, and instilled in our hearts a common desire to rediscover and reclaim what it means to follow Him, then rethinking is what He is calling me to do. I’m Rethinking because I know that no amount of lengthy blog posts will change the world, and I know that I have to Retrace Jesus’ steps to find the way to the hearts of people of the 21st Century.