I had a good discussion yesterday with my pastor covenant group about our discernment process as a church in the wake of the Frank Schaefer trial and controversy. I know that I got a little hot-headed in the debate online so I wanted to offer more circumspect reflections. I believe that each disciple of Jesus Christ not only has the right but actually the duty to contribute to the ongoing living interpretive tradition of our faith. Some Christians think that the Bible doesn’t require any interpretation, but I contend that the way we interpret it is by living it and sharing our testimony with each other. Continue reading
Two weeks ago, Jonathan Martin kicked off his “Both And” sermon series on Biblical interpretation by looking at the story of Acts 15, when the Jerusalem church officially decided that circumcision would not be required of the Gentiles. Jonathan titled his sermon “Spirit, Word, Community” after the three components of spiritual discernment that are in play in this passage. These are similar to the four aspects of the Wesleyan Quadrilateral: scripture, tradition, reason, and experience. What is interesting and scandalous about Acts 15 is that the charismatic witness of the Holy Spirit (i.e. experience) has a much greater role to play for the church than scripture itself. Continue reading
Our hymn of preparation at mass today was “The Church of Christ in Every Age.” Its first stanza does a great job of capturing the tension we face as an ancient faith guided by a living Spirit who is making all things new:
The Church of Christ in every age
beset by change but Spirit led
must claim and test its heritage
and keep on rising from the dead.
A facebook friend shared this meme. It’s scary how perfectly it captures a phenomenon in both the mainline and evangelical worlds alike which I’m going to call the idolatry of the mission statement.