ONE KINGDOM UNDER GOD
The more I learn, the more amazed I become. It’s easy to say God created all things, but when I consider how he created all things to work together, I am brought to my knees.
Take the mind-body connection for example. I heard a scientist declare that every cell in my body listens to my thoughts. Furthermore, a negative thought can be as damaging as smoking a cigarette. (That remark irritated me so much I probably smoked an imaginary pack in two seconds.) Yet I see the truth in that when I walk with people of faith as they live through various crises. They are at peace, even though in pain, because they know they rest in the hand of a loving Father God. Yes, they hurt, but I can almost see those “wings of eagles” holding them up.
Faith is real. God hard-wired us to receive faith when we were “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14). Atheists would say the union of mind and body is merely biological. I agree that it is biological, but believe God uses that very biology to connect with us. He speaks to us when we read the Bible, learn from others, and when we quiet our minds long enough to listen (definitely a challenge for me).
When I was young, I found God in church. A Catholic, I attended parochial schools where the nuns and priests presented a faith comprised of beliefs and traditions played out in ancient rituals of incredible beauty and worship. Much later in life, my faith journey led me out of the Catholic paradigm and into the wider, universal Christian church. There I re-discovered Christ in a way I had never know him before.
As a reporter for the The Good News Magazine https://thegoodnewsnewyork.com/, I interviewed pastors and mission leaders of all denominations, including of the Messianic Jewish tradition. I re-learned what I had always known. Jesus, Yeshua for our Jewish friends, is present whenever we gather in his name. The catholic (small c meaning “universal”) church, God’s Kingdom on earth, is eternal, one in belief that Christ is our Savior. It is powerful and indestructible because Jesus, God Himself, is Lord of it.
I value my Catholic upbringing as I value my current Protestant church home. Dr. Douglas R. Cullum, Ph.D. Vice President and Dean, Professor of Historical and Pastoral Theology at Northeastern Seminary in Rochester, New York once said he believed Christians of all stripes have more in common with each other than they have with the world. I look at our shared truths and values and then at the world’s values and relativism, and couldn’t agree more.
BREAKING OUT FROM OUR FAITH SILOS
One of my favorite assignments for The Good News Magazine is to cover the seminars at Northeastern Seminary for pastors and church workers. (That’s like telling me, “Here, eat this giant chocolate torte. It’s free and has no calories.”)
At one seminar, Dr. Cullum welcomed participants from all “tribes.” We may spend our entire lives in our particular denominational (or non-denominational) tribe, but I believe it is past time to step out of our familiar faith tradition and unite with fellow Christians. Our hurting world is desperate to experience what the love of Christ is really like. I don’t believe I deny my spiritual heritage when I join with other “tribes” to love as Christ commands.
How has your spiritual upbringing influenced your worldview?
Have you lived all your life in one church or have you “shopped around?”
What do you look for in a church?