REFLECTIONS ON CHRISTIANITY AND THE CHURCH - FR. LANCE SCHMITZ, ST. AUGUSTINE OF CANTERBURY EPISCOPAL CHURCH
"Christianity is not beliefs about God plus behavior. We are Christians not because of what we believe, but because we have been called to be disciples of Jesus. To become a disciple is not a matter of a new or changed self-understanding, but rather to become part of a different community with a different set of practices."
The church does not exist as a place but rather a way, a school of community wherein we learn together to be a people who are set apart. As disciples of Jesus we have been set apart to live and model a different way of life that is shaped by the nonviolent ethic of the Kingdom of God as most perfectly revealed in the person of Jesus Christ. Churches ought to be schools of radical Christianity where we submit to God and each other in order to be made different in order to more perfectly love ourselves, others, and God. Our world needs not just right intellectual thinking, but right practice in order to build a new world inside the crumbling shell of the old. We in our churches can bring about a revolutionary revival of heart and transform our communities by engaging them with hearts of love, deeds of justice, and places of belonging for the outcast. Christianity is not some Pablum salve for a guilty conscience but it is rather a radical way of life that ought run against the grain of a world drunk on avarice, violence, and self serving machinations.
There is a great temptation towards power for any organization but especially for the church. Any allegiances the church forms outside of their allegiance to the way of Jesus Christ is a threat and sullies deeply the witness of the church. The way of Jesus Christ is marked by service, nonviolence, and a commitment to faithfulness to God and God's ways even if it means your own death.
Rev. Lance A Schmitz, St. Augustine of Canterbury Episcopal Church