|5 years ago :: Dec 07, 2010 - 11:38AM #1|
Church, religion, spirituality, faith, belief - all these terms are hard to nail down, hard to define tightly. Often different words are used by different people to mean the exact thing, i.e the individual who says "I am spiritual but not religious" might mean the same thing as someone who states that they are "deeply religious."
What is clear is that we have to remain deeply aware of the difference between church as a institution and the heart of God. A church - including NCL - is one of many possible expressions of the heart of the God. We are no more "valid" than other denominations, or than individuals who chose to find God on their own outside of formal religious/ denominational affiliation. As Swedenborg noted, "Everyone whose soul desires it is capable of seeing the truths of the Word in light." We can all see it - there is no denominational "lock" on truth (Which can, when lived into as a "truth" of the New Church make us pretty unique and tolerant!).
"If we try to make the church into the kingdom of God, we create a false idol that will disappoint us." These words by Richard Rohr were the first words I read this morning. Clearly uplifting and challenging they call us to a core truth - "Church" does not equal "The Kingdom of God." The Kingdom of God will exist, will constantly be born anew again and again into the world. We can cooperate with that birth, choose to be part of that path, "ride the current" so to speak but thankfully just we cannot create we neither can destroy it.
Church can be an incredibly powerful vehicle as an expression of the heart of God. Just don't think it is the only one!