Friday, June 3, 2011

Invitations vs. Commandments: Another Reason to Be Rather Fond of the Episcopal Church (Oct 2010)

Which story would you rather listen to, the one that starts with ‘Thou Shalt Not…’ or the one that begins with ‘Once Upon a Time…’?

Modern Christianity is widely viewed as a religion hopelessly bound up with the former - rules, verdicts, and divine commands.  It’s no wonder that a survey out not long ago asked non-believers to describe Christians – and the most popular adjective they chose was “judgmental.”

However, Episcopalians, tend to view the faith a bit differently.  Many of us don’t see Christianity primarily as a set of rules as much we see it as an invitation to take a mystical journey.  When Jesus gathered His disciples.  He didn’t use coercion, intimidation, or quiz them on the commandments.  More than anything, He invited them to follow Him, then painted a magical picture of healing, restoration, love, forgiveness, sacrifice, death, and resurrection.  Often times Jesus didn’t tell his followers where they were going, where they were staying, or even what they were eating.  He led them, and left them, with only the vaguest guidelines, but that was all they needed to turn the world upside down.

This is not to say Jesus paid no attention to the laws and the rules prescribed by his faith, we know He did, and we know we need rules.  However, there’s so much more to the Christian faith than that.

Episcopalians are sometimes criticized for not having enough rules – and for bending those we have – but, at our best, we like to think it’s because this amazing invitation to journey with Jesus defies predictability and convention, asking us to burst out of boxes, sweep into new places, and catapult our imaginations to new heights.

In what ways has your faith helped you dream? 
Leave a post on the Home Page so we can all see.

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