thoughts regarding a conversation with marie...
a picture of marie and me, taken at church while she was visiting us in CA last summer.
marie recently asked me why i don't join the unitarian universalist church (http://www.uua.org). i understand why she asked this. i've thought the same thing on occasion, and when i was in college i was sure for awhile that it was the only church i could survive in. i told her that when i went to the u.u. church in kent for a few months, i started missing jesus. i didn't expect to miss jesus, especially since i didn't necessarily miss christianity. but the feeling of loss didn't go away, and i knew that the person of jesus was going to be central to my faith whether i liked it or not.
so much of christianity is so far removed from the person and work of jesus. the liberation theologian jon sobrino has written in the last few decades about the historical jesus and his preferential option of the poor; that jesus pronounced blessings on the poor and woes on the rich is so obscured in comfortable middle- and upper-class churches. and then the whole issue of morality. jesus didn't say a word about homosexuality- how are so many conservative christians convinced that it is sinful? it doesn't work to peruse the hebrew bible for anti-gay texts, because the very few that are actually about homosexuality are in the same levitical category as not eating shellfish or wearing mixed fabrics (the whole poly-cotton retort never ceases to amuse me). the whole concept of fundamentalism is so contrary to the gospels. jesus was all about getting folks to follow him, to act ethically and to be in relationship with a God he referred to as a parent. the content of the 20th-century "fundamentals," which included 5 doctrinal issues such as belief in the inerrancy of the scriptures, the virgin birth, and the bodily resurrection of jesus, have nothing to do with the actual content of jesus' teachings.
so why stay in the christian church, given that so many people have adopted fundamentalist ideologies? because i believe, in spite of myself. i believe in the teachings of jesus and the presence of Christ when 2 or 3 are gathered in his name, and it just so happens that it's the church that gathers in the name of Christ. i also feel called to be witness to a christian faith that is rooted in the radical love of God. so i'm here, even though i might fit into the u.u. more comfortably.
besides, i always did like getting a snack halfway through the worship, and for all the spiritual meaning communion signifies, it is also good bread and a swig of grape juice, and you can't beat that.
Posted by Katherine Willis Pershey