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20121115-180317.jpgUsually, I try to select an article that goes along with what we’ve been discussing, and I’ve done that here. I also usually provide a short introduction, that I haven’t done here because the first comment on the article, from Kathleen of “Catholicism Pure & Simple” says it much better than I can, along with insight into how Jess wanted this place to be, and that we have tried to continue. Here’s Kathleen:

Jess, you are doing something very special and extremely important here; you are drawing together Christians from all denominations in inspiring and profound discussions on Faith topics. We can obviously not agree on all aspects of our beliefs, but we can exchange our views, traditions and teachings in lively conversation in an atmosphere of harmony and respect, and without any anger or self-righteousness. Really, this is absolutely amazing!

Through your gentle, respectful and sensitive personality (plus with your obvious high intelligence and vivid imagination) you are achieving something that no one else has managed to…… as far as I know anyway. Every other blog site that attempts such discussions always seems to end up in cyber-type battles and fights leaving no winners…… and a very sour tasting feeling of utter futility!

United?

So often, for me, one of the most wonderful parts of running a blog are the comments from you – they are never less than thought-provoking, and sometimes they are so profound as to make me glad to have such people with whom to converse through this strange medium.

Yesterday’s post on the ‘Beauty of holiness’ touch a chord with many, and set of some fascinating comments.  I was much struck with the conclusion to Kathleen’s comments:

I readily agree with you that in this, our secular age in the West, we live “impoverished times as Christians”…… and it is vital we should befriend our fellow Christians to stand shoulder to shoulder in the face of so many challenges of our day, rather than bicker, insult (and worse), which is what we have been doing since the times of the Reformation until fairly recently.
All denominations of true Christians hold and believe the most important thing of all: that Jesus Christ is the Saviour, the Only begotten Son of God, Who came to redeem mankind. Nothing is more important than this.

If I were able to sum up my credo it would be in these words. 

As anyone familiar with the site on which Kathleen makes such distinguished posts, Catholicism Pure & Simple, will know, she is a devout and knowledgeable Cradle Catholic, so her comments come with even more weight, as they are not the product of some casual ecumenist gust of emotion.  They were matched by words from my dear friend NEO, who commented:

Lutherans, Catholics, and Anglicans, we have all, to a great extent anyway, thrown away the reverential awe of worship. We did this with the best of intentions, to attract new congregants but, as with so many things, we didn’t think it through. When we lower ourselves to attract people, we lower the standards of Christianity. Of what use are multitudes of half-Christianized pagans to God or church?

He added:

We stress our coffee hours, our good works (which are important and are an effect of our faith) our modernity in general. And what do we get, a coffee shop filled with do-gooders. There’s nothing wrong with any of that but, it’s not who we are, we are the Church of Jesus Christ, the Risen Lord, nothing more and nothing less. Many of our Evangelical friends understand this, why can’t we?

And that, between them, sums up the place where some of us feel that real ecumenism already exists.

We are, not one of us, responsible for what divides us; we are all responsible for perpetuating it if we ‘bicker and insult’ others.

In the end it comes back, as it always must, to what Jesus told His disciples, which is why I have part of it on the masthead of this blog:

34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

If we do that, then we follow Him. If we don’t, it does not matter what we say. If we do not love one another we walk in darkness.

From 14 August 2012, and as always the comments are worth reading as well.

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