Saturday, November 2, 2013

Four Movements in My Life as a Christian Believer

There have been four spiritual movements I can discern in my spiritual life as a Christian:

Catholicism - that is, ancient Christianity, based on the Bible, Creeds, Sacraments, Liturgical Hours of Prayer, and subsisting in a covenant faith community. Most readily associated with Roman Catholicism, Old Catholics, Eastern Orthodoxy, Oriental Orthodoxy, Anglicanism, and some Lutheran Churches, but really should apply to all Christians ideally. One is baptized into the Covenant Faith Community, which in turn is gathered around the Lord's Table. The Holy Eucharist is our central act of worship. Time is sanctified via the liturgical seasons of the Church year, and the Daily Office of prayers and scripture readings provide the basis of corporate hours of prayer and personal, individual devotions. For me as an Anglican Christian, weekly Eucharist on Sunday and the Daily Office from the Book of Common Prayer are important practices for my own spiritual life, and for my participation in the Covenant Faith Community.

Evangelicalism- in the best sense, Evangelical faith is focused on the preaching of Christ from the Scriptures, and involves not only proclaiming the Person of Christ publicly, but a fidelity to the Bible as the rule of faith for the individual Christian and covenant faith community. The Scriptures are for me “bread from heaven.” I seek to hear and see Jesus Christ in the pages of the Bible.

Social Gospel. As an Anglo-Catholic, I honor the heritage of Slum-Ritualism. Anglo-Catholics have a history of working with the poor in the slums in England, and were called "Slum Ritualists." Anglo-Catholics have very often embraced socialism to this very day, and are sometimes called "Sacramental Socialists." The Biblical witness calls us to go beyond charity to social justice, and compels us to critique unjust social and economic structures in the society, and in the faith community. The impulse for social justice encompasses not only economic justice but social justice for all people, regardless of gender, race, creed, sexual orientation, in the public realm, and full inclusion of all in the covenant faith community. The Scriptures are filled with calls for social justice for the poor and oppressed, and Jesus' ministry exemplifies love and acceptance for outsiders and the outcast.

Advaita, Non-Duality. Inspired by my spiritual hero Bede Griffiths, his disciple Brother John Martin and other writers like Thomas Merton, I have been intrigued the experience of non-duality, that is, oneness with God, as pursued through contemplation, meditation and direct experience with God. Exposure to Eastern thought has in turn revealed the non-dualistic aspects of Christian theology and experience, The non-dualistic experience brings us beyond religion to the vastness of G-d. I have a Christian Mantra, but I need to create more time for sitting meditation.

All of these movements are a part of my life as a Christian believer.  

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