Making friends with clergy of other faiths has led to some of the richest experiences of my life. These colleagues and friends have not only have enriched my life, but challenged me to articulate Christian Science and live my faith in deeper ways to help them and others.
This blog is about Christian Science in Christian dialogue and community.
The technical term is ‘ecumenical dialogue.’ The Mother Church as well as local communities are in various stages of formal dialogue with Christian councils and organizations around the world. This blog is an open, transparent discussion about these relationships.We encourage you to enter the conversation by contributing your own comments after the blog postings. The Ecumenical Team of bloggers include Shirley Paulson (Committee for Ecumenical Affairs), Janet Horton, Madelon Maupin, Brian Talcott, and Maryl Walters.
I confess I have felt defensive about my religion. I have wished denominational boundaries would stop cutting me off from useful relations with those of other religious beliefs. Thanks to a new idea about denominations, I can respect others and feel better respected within my denominational family.
I couldn’t help wonder if I was thought of as an insider or outsider. I was comforted to realize Christians all around me in that room were pondering the meaning of Jesus’ words, “do not forbid him.” Jesus distinguished between those who followed “us” (the in-crowd) versus those following “him” (the name casting out demons).
I was moved by the boldness and compassion I heard from the speakers at the Christian 21 gathering in Phoenix last month. They asked what the teachings and example of Jesus say that are most essential to following him and how these essentials effect the future of Christianity.
There is a wonderful upcoming opportunity to work with other Christians on the serious issue of prison reform—where we can make a difference. Each year the National Council of Churches joins with other organizations to sponsor the Ecumenical Advocacy Days (EAD) in Washington, D.C. This will be the 13th annual gathering of Christians being held April 17 to 20, 2015. Entitled,Breaking the Chains, the focus this year is to better understand the issues—and speak to our members of Congress—regarding prison reform.
There’s a new twist in this year’s theme for the global, annual Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. Receiving from others (instead of doing all the giving) breaks down barriers and demonstrates respect for those we don’t know well.
Part of the healing dialogue going on between Christian faiths world-wide is mirrored in a new World Council of Churches (WCC) booklet called “The Church: Towards a Common Vision.” It’s
a 40-page discussion of the role of Church—“the one holy, catholic and apostolic church” (catholic with a small “c” meaning universal) “to serve the divine plan for the transformation of the world.” (p. vi)
With the prospects of a 2015 having multiple hot spots throughout the globe, Christians committed to ecumenical dialogue can contribute to welcoming 'the stranger', in the spirit of Christ Jesus' example.
When I ask an individual of Christian background how they identify themselves I get a surprising variety of answers. A few decades ago, the reply would usually be to name one of the Christian denominations: Baptist, Catholic, Lutheran, etc. Today people discuss their individual faith journeys.
One bitterly cold Christmas I experienced something that revealed to me a more profound sense of the meaning of the season. My dad explained a family whose dad worked for him had just been evicted from their home.