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Good Morning Nanty Glo!
               Wednesday, October 23 2002 

Jon Kennedy, webmaster Christianity without church

The bumper sticker I described yesterday, "God is great; organized religion isn't," seems related to another common fallacy a lot of well meaning but in-my-opinion-deluded people express: they're commited to being good Christians but they don't need a church. They get by better without one, without all the petty politics, back-biting, gossip, power seeking. I'd love to leave all that too (though this is not at all characteristic of my present parish), but the same could be said of life in general. In this world—in life—we will have tribulations, and those include petty politics and all the rest. Everywhere that there are people, these predispositions, sins, are going to be evident.

It's like and akin to saying I'm a Christian, but I can't believe in the trinity (many people have said that, especially since the enlightenment and the rise of deism which transformed into unitarianism, a movement more current a century and even half a century ago than now). The church teaches, of course (if you stop to think about it), that despite the fact that "the trinity" was articulated and subsequently adopted as a Christian dogma even after the close of the New Testament canon*, in the fourth century, the Trinity was always the form in which God has existed and has interacted upon and with creation including pre-eminently humankind.

If God is love as the Apostle says (1 John 4:8), though no one could hold Him to account, it could hardly be otherwise. Love requires others or at least "an" other, an object, a relationship; from eternity God had and was love because he was a trinity, not a unity. And the oldest Christian theology holds that the church existed even before creation. That Trinitarian Being was in its unity and diversity the church prefigured. Adam and Eve were members of the church, if the church is defined as those who are in right relationship with the triune God. To be in the church is to be in God, and to be alientated from the church is to be separating oneself from God.

Of course you can't have religion (much less Christianity) without church or something by another name that serves the same function: being the community of believers supporting each other through the tribulations of life, carrying each other's burdens, sharing each other's joys and griefs.

*Canon=The "officially" included books of the New Testament, approved by the whole church in the third century.

—Webmaster Jon Kennedy

Seeing the obvious

Drunk? Me?

The drunken wino was stumbling down the street with one foot on the curb and one foot in the gutter. A cop pulled up and said, "I've got to take you in, sir. You're obviously drunk".

The wasted wino asked, "Ociffer, are ya absolutely sure I'm drunk?"

"Yeah, buddy, I'm sure," said the copper. "Let's go."

Obviously relieved, the wino said "That's a relief—I was afraid I was a cripple."

—Sent by Bob Kennedy

Thought for today

When all else (but not until), read the directions

A coupla months in the laboratory can save a coupla hours in the library.

—Westheimer's Discovery

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