Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Pilgrim in a foreign land...

I can't help it. Sometimes I feel like a pilgrim in a foreign land.

I grew up in a traditional and strong Christian home. I was raised in the church and we were members of the local Church of the Nazarene wherever we happened to be living at the time. I later went on to one of the Nazarene colleges. I have attended many Nazarene churches in my lifetime. I have been fortunate to serve in many areas of ministry in the local church. I am very comfortable and happy in a church that is Wesleyan in its theology.

But, now and for the last several years, I and my family find ourselves in a Southern Baptist Church. I guess I never knew or appreciated what I had within the Wesleyan movement until I ws surrounded by theology shaped by Calvinists, neo-Calvinists and the Reformed perspective.

I would welcome anyone else's participation who has found themselves in a similar situation.



  1. we do have a lot in common, although i grew up Roman Catholic, and to the chagrin of many of my Christian brothers and sisters, I don't resent it, nor do I believe that the RC church is the great harlot of the Bible, my first 10 years of my "born again" Christian life was spent being nurtured by old saints in a conservative, nonliberal United Methodist Church and my formal education was in a Free Methodist college in Chili, New York, the birthplace of Free Methodism. And now, partially I think to the fact that Our God has a sense of humor, we are living in New Mexico. I'll be in touch...blog on

  2. I have a very dear work associate who was raised in the Roman Catholic Church. He was saved later in life as an adult and for a while attended a church that you would certainly consider to be more evangelical than the RC church.

    When he was transfered back to the Houston he could not find a satisfactory church for he and his family. He returned to an RC church where he now worships as a born again Christian.

    He is a very dear friend and I value his friendship greatly.


  3. I was raised in the Churches of Christ, part of the Alexander Campbell tradition. CoC does not honor its own tradition typically. Some quarters have begun to honor it in recent years, but not most. And so most CoC-ers do not know much about Campbell. I only learned about him in college.

    However, some of my favorite scholars are Methodist. I even tried to get into a Methodist seminary, but could not afford it. My favorite scholar is Anglican -Wright as you know from stopping by my blog- and he is close to and follows Richard Hays, from Duke University. Some of my favorite local pastors were Methodists. If I was not in CoC, I would likely be Methodist. I have great admiration for so much scholarship that I find there.

    As for Baptist, I am close friends with several, and in fact, CoC united with the Baptists about 200 years ago briefly. Actually, it was still a conglomeration of movements at that time and not the established CoC.

    I am very ecumenical, unlike most from my heritage. However, there is a growing number of is in the CoC.

    I also admire many Catholics. I am not entirely protestant. I have great respect for John Paul II. Perhaps I should say, "had". One of my college profs pointed out that there is one deep underlying characteristic shared by CoC and RC. In each group there is profound loyalty to "the Church" as such, something I also value.

    I am not comfortable using some of the labels like "reformed" or "calvinist". I have some understanding of them, but not enough to feel comfortable using them freely. I feel sure I would misuse them out of ignorance, so I tend not to.

    However, I have come to really question just how important "personal salvation" is. I am still processing the concept, but leaning heavily away from valuing it much. I figure that is shocking to most protestant ears. I have heard so many variations on the sermon that claims that if there is one all important issue that you need to have settled right now tonight, it is "Are you Saved?" I suspect we have Luther and maybe Augustine to thank for bequeathing that notion more than Jesus or Paul or anyone in the Bible.

    Rather, I see God as the creator who is redeeming his creation at large, of which I am a part, a key part even, but still just a part. I think that the thing that caused all the trouble in the world to begin with was that humans stopped being human -that is stopped bearing the image of God as designed. So when humanity takes its rightful place as an image bearer, it will also take dominion and order the world as it was designed.

    That is a nutshell. I am sure there is simpler ways and clearer ways to put it. There is probably even good labels for it, but I do not know them.

    I am now deeply interested in "narative theology" and even in developing narrative ministry. However, thus far I do not know of any mentors for such, so I blaze the trail myself in fits and starts.

    I hope this is the kind of interaction you were looking for. My fingers are tired now, I can be sort of long sometimes. I'll quit with that and see if it gels...

    Many blessings

  4. Kevin9:39 AM

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