Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Denominational Affiliation?

Truly a quandary, this denominational affiliation question...and I hate it. I wish it was more cut and dry, a little easier, more "like for like". I am a member of the Church of the Nazarene, and I am pondering the move of my membership to the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection.

Now, a word. I know that you are not saved by the denomination you are a part of or the church you are a member of. You are saved by your acceptance of Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. You can be saved as a member of any denomination or church. Gosh, there will even be Roman Catholics in Heaven! (If you are Roman Catholic, substitute Protestants in the previous sentence--yes, even those Lutheran people!) However, being human, and being that we are very bad at doing Christianity by ourselves we have assembled ourselves in various groups. And again, being human, we are not all identical in our groups. And now, being both human and, er, sinful, we have been known to argue amongst ourselves, vote each other out of the Kingdom, change our minds about sound biblical doctrine, and follow the Law of Spiritual Entropy.

Now, here's the dealio. In 1982, probably bribed with food (note: when working on outreach with singles, food works very well), I went to a Revival Service at a Church of the Nazarene. I became a Christian at that service. I attended that church for 3 years, and in 1985, decided to join. In 1989, I moved to Kansas City, in order to attend Nazarene Theological Seminary. I completed seminary, receiving my Master of Divinity but was unable to attain a position in ministry. So I went back to my "other" career as a nurse. So, you see, not only am I Nazarene, I am about as Nazarene as you can get. I am conservative theologically, believe that the whole world needs Jesus, that the Bible is the inspired word of God (N.B.-consistent with the Manual I interpret the Bible as one believing in plenary inspiration--everything needed for faith and Christian living is in there), that Jesus was raised from the dead after being killed on a Roman cross, etc. etc.

John Wesley is one of my faith heroes.

So, now for a million reasons which are alternately serious, tedious, minor, and somewhat related to my psyche rather than my spiritual life, I attend a United Methodist church. A conservative United Methodist church. I love my big conservative United Methodist church. But then...I see an item on a blog that relates that a Methodist school will begin "formal training" of Jewish rabbis and Muslim imams in the fall. It also came to my attention that Duke Divinity School has a Muslim faculty member.

This sort of thing drives me nuts. That's me, with my head in my hands.

Swapping the Church of the Nazarene for the United Methodist Church is not quite "like for like." On the congregational level? I would say that a conservative UM congregation is going to give the average Nazarene congregation a run for its holiness money. On the national/general level? Not so much. No, not even close.

That's the problem, in a nut shell.

Plus I'm sentimental.

Coming up over the next three weeks is a series of sermons, sort of a "Methodism 101" based on some concepts that John Wesley came up with. Concurrently, there will be a class given. I'm in on this--it's going to be fun and interesting. When do you think I should show my true colors? Hehe.

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