Saturday, March 2, 2013

Theological Mutt

In the past year I have interacted with eastern Orthodox, LCMS, ELCA, Catholic and some of my old connections in the non denominational world. I seem to find things I like in every tradition but I am unable to  polarize and buy in 100 % into any of them . I love my new church and even though it is in the ELCA it is not representative of that denomination.  The scary thing is if it ever became more like the denomination I would be hard pressed to stay. Luckily I dont see anything changing soon so no worry is needed at this point. I have had only one person be happy that I was at an ELCA church and it was an Episcopal priest.

When I was struggling so hard spiritually my current church allowed me to walk in and join with open arms. Many of the other traditions mentioned above require months of catachesis and I didnt want to prove myself worthy again. It seems like every different denomination has identified good doctrine and practice and hangs their hat on it. But unfortunately through bloodshed and sectarianism hundreds of years ago most of the rank and file can see beyond and respect what is good in fellow Christian traditions.

What is one to do that cant become tribal and buy into a denomination 100%. I tend to think where I am at is perfect for me since I love high church liturgy,  think baptism is the entrance rite into the faith and believe that if Christ isnt present in the sacrament of holy communion then why bother.

I love the studies and reading I have done in the contemplative life in the western Catholic church. Someone who can live in solitude and look introspective at themselves and deny basic essentials is interesting to me. I also like the reverence that is paid to saints in the church and they are like fellow members we can ask to pray for us. It definitely competes well against the black and white doctrine of the reformed tradition I grew up in.

I have learned a great deal from the LCMS church. The law and gospel distinction has been infinitely helpful in me understanding where my old teadition was out of whack. They also pay tribute to church history in a way that makes this protestant group less so.

The Eastern Orthodox tradition is one I have read the least on but I feel is similar in some ways to the Catholic church. They have a different church calendar but revere saints in their tradition as well. The biggest turn off for me was once I learned their services were 2.5 hours long. If I could find a western rite church that had an hour service then maybe. In my locale when the Episcopal church went batshit most of the local clergy converted to this tradition.

My old church I never engaged in and after I left they realized that I would be an asset to them. They all know the bible cover to cover very well and the clergy there are all nice guys. I just dont line up enough with the laity or the statement of belief to be helpful there.

The Catholic church is a tradition I have always admired. However,  since I am a bit of a rebel I cant see how jumping over the high bar to get in is worth it. I would have to be a better Catholic than everybody there even though I already know more about it than most of them.

So if you are a part of a tradition that works for you be glad. I have found one for now at my current church but could it change? Sure it could? I guess I am in the right place if no other jumps out as the right fit. Maybe when doors close when you entertain other options it is a sign you have found your home.

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