The other day at lunch, the group of us were having an interesting conversation about religion. At one point, one of us remarked, “Wow, we have quite a good spread here. Catholic, Evangelical, Catholic, Lutheran…” and as he went around the circle, he ended with me, and then he faltered. “High church… liturgical…”
“Something,” I volunteered.
Moments like these make me wonder if I ought to have a “label” with which to easily describe myself. I recall an exchange I had with a friend’s father a few years ago: he had asked what I “was”, meaning, what denomination, but I answered simply, “Christian.” “How postmodern of you,” he said. I didn’t comment at the time, but I wanted to say, “Or, how early Church.” I have not avoided a label out of the desire to be postmodern or cool, or what have you. I prefer not to use the term “nondenominational” because in my experience, it ends up being yet another version of mainstream Protestantism, just without the label Baptist or Methodist. A Catholic would not feel welcome there. Yet I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able. I believe in one God, the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is seen and unseen; in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only Son of God; in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life — in other words, the Creed. I am Christian.
It is my hope and dream to someday see ecumenical reform. I dream of a Church that is one holy, catholic and apostolic Church: a Church in which all of us, Protestant, Catholic, and Orthodox, can gather at the Communion table and break bread together, believing that we are one body, because we share the one bread. A Church in which all of us recognize each others’ baptisms, bringing to fullness that we acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins. A Church that fulfills the prayer Jesus prayed in the garden, that we would all be one, as He and the Father are one. Not that we all have to become the same, no: in this dream is a Church in which we finally realize that the divinity of God can handle our diversity.
And because this is my dream, I must first start with myself. I come from a background that includes Baptist, Methodist, Lutheran, and Episcopalian, and that has a strong Catholic influence. I say, “Christian,” because I have brethren in all of these, and in more.