Sunday, November 17, 2013

A Disciple of Christ

Yes - that is me. Big D - Disciple as well as little d - disciple.
Meaning that I do identify in this post denominational age as a member of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ.) I used to be a Presbyterian, and a Methodist and now I am a Disciple. And I will continue.

I write this after attending Saturday's workshop on the Disciples of Christ at Camp Christian that was led by Glen Carson from the Disciples Historical Society.

He took us back through the history of our denomination - our beginnings in both Kentucky with Barton W Stone and in West Virginia with Thomas and Alexander Campbell.
He talked about the four pillars of the church.

And as he spoke I realized that this is why I am a Disciple and will continue to be.
The four pillars:
1. The primacy of the new testament - we are followers of Jesus and that is what is most important. That the message of the Old (First ) Testament is important but we are a new testament church. And the stories and teachings of Jesus as well as his death and resurrection continue to speak to me every year. Not to mention the acts of the apostles and the letters of Paul and others. This has truly been formative to me and to my faith.
2. We pursue Christian unity - not well - but that is our polar star. We are Christians only and not the only Christians and we do not think that we are the only ones with the truth. We are in competition with no one and we work with everyone to express the light of the love of Christ.
3. We believe in and practice the priesthood of all believers. And we do every week - you see it especially at the table. There does not need to be an ordained pastor in order for us to have communion. And I know from my experience with other denominations that this is huge for me. I could not pastor if my church placed me in anyway above the rest of the congregation. And while we all say this - not every church practices it. And I feel especially blessed by the church that I serve where members do everything I do - visit the sick, Bible studies, preach, lead worship. We are the body of Christ.
4. We have the promise of the open table. Everyone is welcome to come. The initial invitation was made by Jesus. And Glen made a point on Saturday of saying that you did not even have to be a believer. He said that the invitation is for any who are weary and heavy laden. Come. And this table is a place of memory - remembering the life, teachings, death and resurrection of Jesus. But most important to me - it is a mystical place of presence. We gather together in the presence of our Lord.

And so I thought I would write this blog just saying that I have yet to learn of a church that fits what I believe better than the Disciples of Christ. We have a respect for education that comes from our forefathers like Alexander Campbell as well as an awareness of the power of the spirit that comes from Barton Stone.

We are - of course - not perfect in practice. We all have stories of times that churches and regions and even the general church fell away from trusting in God's leading and may have been guided by fear and power needs. But the ideals of who we are called to be as followers of Christ continue to speak to me.

And so, as I reflect on my life I hope that people see in me one who is trying to follow Jesus Christ as a disciple. And I am glad that 30 years ago I found a denomination that fits ME!

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