While our site deals mostly with the academic and intellectual and exegetical aspects of UR – which is all really great and useful and inspiring – it seems there is this tiny outpost of ideas relating to what it’s actually like to live the truth of UR. It’s way down in the “Practices” section and is titled “Christian Living”. Just in case anyone wants to visit there. Of course the practical aspects of actually living what we believe (UR) tends to leak out all over the place. Like here, in this discussion of denominations.
And while I love the academics of the UR defense, the reality of UR that makes it all matter for me, and worth living, are these very pointed and vulnerable confessions of what it’s like on the front line of real life; my life and your life.
So a discussion like this one resonates and touches me like few others here can.
I absolutely love what Paidion brings to this discussion and have little quarrel with his thoughts. And for all the brilliance that Jason Pratt has lent us on this site I can’t help but love these words of his:
– “Consequently I am not an official member of the churches I attend anymore.
For classification purposes? Uh… western orthodox Baptist universalist???” –
But I would bet anyone here that should one have the pleasure and privilege of worshipping with Jason (never met the man; but believe I know a bit about him from our friendship here…) they would be blessed to be worshipping the true God with him. Just a feeling I get.
In defense of denominations then:
–they offer one a place to worship… and a context too…
–they offer a particular historical perspective and emphasis…
–they are a community of believers into which one might have been born and raised… caution is needed when rejecting such…
Were Paul to have meant that all expressions of faith and worship must look alike, why would he have said this in Romans 14:5? “… let each be convinced in his own mind…” The simple fact is that while God is One, we, at this point anyway, struggle to achieve that ideal. So we try our best and become convicted of what we believe is right. And that’s how we proceed.
Now for me anyway, and I hear Buddy saying this as well, I really don’t care much to argue the vagaries of one particular denomination over the other. IF you see the truth of a saving and eternally persistent God who will not stop until ALL are saved, and that causes you to live a life of joy and compassion and embrace of ALL of God’s children (not just the ones who “conform” and behave…) might that not mean we have (in a sense?) our own little version of a “church” right here??
This topic and dynamic really fascinates me because I already have a denominational family and yet I don’t agree with all it’s stated convictions. At the same time, I ALSO have an overlapping family of belief – and that’s all of YOU here! That is about the coolest thing I can imagine actually: when I worship in my congregation each week, each of YOU here on this site is metaphorically “with” me! Because I KNOW you to be people of great and deep faith in the same God I worship! Shoot – I may never even MEET you: and yet we are bound together by… something. What is that something??
My God: my arms are so wide open that when I go to worship each week (side by side with folks who formulate things unlike I do) I even celebrate the kinship I feel with certain of my Atheist friends (say, like JeffA) who stir to a truth which also stirs ME!
Yes, I may BE in a certain denomination, and feel some loyalty to her, but it is merely a place and vehicle wherein I experience the larger picture and embrace of God together with others who adore Him. Their vision and perfection is not in my view at all: it is God who holds my rapt attention and devotion…
I would still love to know, Paidion, whom you believe to be the “other flock” Jesus spoke of…