The annual Christian Unity Gathering of the National Council of Churches (USA) welcomes anyone interested in ecumenical ministry to listen and participate. This year, the meeting is May 7-8, at the Hilton Washington Dulles.
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 stood in front of a table displaying several books on Jesus as a historical figure that I had never seen before. These really interested me, although as a Christian Scientist I wondered whether it was really ok to be interested in and read these books, since they didn’t come from any Christian Science source.
Christian Scientists are taught to love and obey the teachings of our Master, Christ Jesus. We generally think we do – until we run into some of the difficult teachings. When he prayed that all his followers in the future would all be one, how is that possible or practical?
Some of the deepest debates in Christian history have arisen from the concern that Gnosticism claimed the spiritual perfection of creation and excluded the sacrificial role of Jesus as the Savior. Indeed, why would the world need Jesus, if we were already living the perfection of the kingdom of God? Why do Christian Scientists claim such an important relationship to Jesus, our Savior?
It was humbling to be rubbing shoulders with so many Christians who are thinking so deeply about the essence of “primitive Christianity,” who are willing to exchange old doctrines for new, and who authentically live their lives modeling non-violence.
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.
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.