The denomination I’m ordained in, United Church of Christ (UCC), has a catchphrase: “God continues to be talking.” Meaning God continues, all through all of time, to disclose Godself to us, simply as God did to the individuals of Israel within the historical near-east and within the time of Jesus.
For a very long time, the motto was principally used to counter these manufacturers of Christianity that attempted to say the Bible is the inerrant and infallible phrase of God and it’s all we have to know from God and about God. And, as a result of we don’t take all the things in scripture because the final phrase, my denomination is thought for its social justice “firsts.”i
The UCC’s social motion bona fides are usually not in query. Nonetheless, our dedication to contemplative non secular practices has not been as strong — which is why this week’s information that delegates of the UCC’s Normal Synod (our massive conference that happens each two years) authorised a decision calling on the broader church to base its activism on a lifetime of foundational non secular practices.
Religious administrators and non secular formation academics within the UCC are ecstatic. We’ve been speaking about this for a very long time! One a part of the decision reads, “Contemplation with out motion fuels narcissism, and motion with out contemplation is a recipe for bitterness and non secular depletion.” The decision asks church buildings to comply with the instance of Jesus and supply occasions of silence, meditation, and solitude to foster an “intimate relationship with God.”
The decision was introduced ahead by the 2 younger UCC leaders: Rev. Matt Carriker and Denson Staples, a member in discernment, each from the Southern New England Convention. Carriker instructed delegates a few dialog he had with a girl who had tried to deliver an consciousness of contemplative observe into the lifetime of her church, however discovered individuals resisted for one purpose for one more. Carriker requested, “How can our church buildings reside out each the contemplative and activist dimensions of our religion?”
The decision is already creating ripples of curiosity. This previous Sunday, First UCC Phoenix pastor Rev. Susan Valiquette opened her sermon with the information of the decision and inspired the congregation to stability its activist work with a glance inward, suggesting that members take into account prayer, meditation, chanting, fasting, tithing, meditative studying of scripture and…..non secular route.
To embrace that “God continues to be talking” is to additionally ask this query: “How are we listening and responding?” Earlier than we will adequately reply, we have to rigorously hear and discern what what work this Nonetheless-Talking God is inviting every of us to.
Rev. Teresa Blythe is a non secular director, educator and writer based mostly in Phoenix. To be taught extra about non secular route, go to her web site at www.teresablythe.web.
i. First act of civil disobedience within the colonies—a protest in opposition to an unjust tax on tea; first ordained African American pastor by a Protestant denomination—Lemuel Haynes in 1785; first built-in anti-slavery society in 1846 when Lewis Tappan of the Amistad motion organized the American Missionary Affiliation; first girl pastor in 1853—Antoinette Brown; ordination of the primary overtly homosexual minister, Rev. William R. Johnson, in 1972; and the primary Christian denomination to help homosexual marriage on July 4, 2005.