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Perspective On Point 4


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Discuss Point 4 of the TCPC 8 Points...

By calling ourselves progressive, we mean that we are Christians who invite all people to participate in our community and worship life without insisting that they become like us in order to be acceptable (including but not limited to): * believers and agnostics, * conventional Christians and questioning skeptics, * women and men, * those of all sexual orientations and gender identities, * those of all races and cultures, * those of all classes and abilities, * those who hope for a better world and those who have lost hope; * without imposing on them the necessity of becoming like us.

 

I think Point 4 poses a bit of a paradox when related to the 4 questions below. The point clearly states (bold lettering is mine) that we “invite all people to participate in our community and worship life without insisting that they become like us in order to be acceptable…”. There can, and should be a distinction made between community and worship. Although I whole-heartedly welcome all people, regardless of race, sex, color, creed, religion, etc into my community, I do not necessarily believe that all should share the same house of worship. Hopefully that rational will be clear in my answers to the 4 questions.

 

1. Can you think of a type of person who might make you uncomfortable if one sat next to you during a church service?

 

Yes, I can. I would be uncomfortable if a person of another religious persuasion attended the same church as I do and had no intention of embracing or respecting the worship service of that church. It is the same as my response to whom I would welcome to my table for communion.

As an example, I don’t feel it is appropriate for a non-Catholic to attend and participate in the Catholic communion service. It shows an intentional disrespect to their customs and traditions, regardless of my agreement or disagreement with those customs and traditions. I would not attend a Mosque, with rosary in hand, kneel on a mat, and begin the Our Father, either. I have no issue with any chosen path to God or any method of worship, as long as it never infringes on another person's path to God or method of worship. I do not feel that all paths need to be pursued in the same house of worship.

 

 

2. What would you be willing to change in your church if it meant making more people feel welcomed or comfortable? Music? Order of worship? Style or time of worship? Number of services?

 

The services that I attend now have their format through popular consent. If I am in need of change, I can attend a different church service. Personally, I enjoy a variety, and I attend different houses of worship for that reason. I think the operative word in the above question is willing. As Christians, a defining characteristic should be our willingness to welcome and offer comfort to everyone in our day to day lives. That should come from the individual, not from the pulpit. Arguments over how we worship God have divided the Christian Church into over 1500 varieties already. I would hate to be a contributor in those politics because of a dislike for organ music or the omission of one word in the Nicene Creed.

 

3. What would you be unwilling to change?

 

Unwillingness should not be a term that the Christian mind is familiar with. Any change, or decision not to change should be approached with compassion first, and all other motivating factors taken second to compassion. If compassion is the motivating factor in change then I am open to anything.

 

 

4. How long do you think people should attend your church before they can hold positions of responsibility?

 

People should be given responsibility when they ask for it and when they have shown a history of reliability that demonstrates they are up to the task. I don’t feel it is fair to set a timeline on personal responsibility. I would hate to saddle someone with more responsibility than they need, and I would hate to see someone stubbornly shoulder too much out of control issues, distrust, or the like. I am considerably more concerned with allotment of responsibility in my community than in my church.

Edited by Jake
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  • 2 weeks later...

Discuss Point 4 of the TCPC 8 Points...

1. Can you think of a type of person who might make you uncomfortable if one sat next to you during a church service?

 

As an example, I dont feel it is appropriate for a non-Catholic to attend and participate in the Catholic communion service. It shows an intentional disrespect to their customs and traditions, regardless of my agreement or disagreement with those customs and traditions.

 

I am an Anglo Catholic, but not a Roman. I find your suggestion rather bizarre - that any non Roman choosing to attend a Roman church in order to worship alongside Roman friends constitutes some form of disrespect. This level of hypersensitivity would seem to be rather a dysfunctional kind, and not exactly conducive to ecumenism.

 

I will not take communion where I am not welcome to do so, but I will certainly accept a blessing from a Roman priest (as indeed I have done, many times), should I find myself attending a Roman mass.

 

Perhaps a little less broad sweeping might be in order. Personally, I have no objection to anyone of any faith worshipping alongside me in my own church, whether they share my beliefs or not. To me, anyone - Moslem, Hindu, atheist or whatever - attending a Christian church in order to learn about us and our faith is not an act of disrespect, any more than my attending a mosque in order to learn about theirs is.

 

Nobody sitting next to me in church can make me feel uncomfortable. I choose my own feelings, and I choose not to give anyone else power over those feelings in this way. If I happen to not want to sit next to a particular person, that says more about me than about them, and it is for me to deal with my prejudices as best I can. If I cannot, then I also cannot take communion, because I am not fit to do so.

Edited by Anglocatholic
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Perhaps I didn't communicate clearly. I should not have used the word attend. I agree with you completely on inter-faith attendance at any service. Where I find issue is with a non-catholic receiving the host from the priest. Traditionally , that privilege extends to practicing catholics in good standing only. I made this error once and it offended a number of people.

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