A tour through Church history will reveal so many problems: the patriarchy, the inquisition, the heresy trials, the dualistic thinking. I’m sure you can add to the list. But I’d like to think that the Jewish rabbi/ teacher at the heart of the tradition had some good things to say about loving your enemy and sharing from your abundance and letting go of grudges; nothing particularly original, yet always timely. However, one of our long-time leaders at St. Andrew’s has issues with the guy.
“I have a problem with Jesus,” he said, in the middle of a meeting. “As soon as you put Jesus in the centre of the discussion, I feel like heading for the door.”
I know what he is saying and I know why he is saying it. It’s pretty hard to separate the historical Jesus (what we know of him…which is very little) from the historical church. Many in our culture don’t feel too safe if they think Jesus is in the room. An example of this is how many people immediately apologize to me for swearing as if I, on Jesus’ behalf, represent some sort of moral yardstick.
I, too, had problems with Jesus when I was studying theology, a version of him, anyway. In fact, my understanding of Jesus was particularly problematic for the principal at the theological college. But those who are familiar with church history also know that the early church was incredibly diverse in its understanding of Jesus’ teachings. They understood themselves as being caught up in a movement not an institution.
At St. Andrew’s in Picton we approach the historical Jesus as a doorway for inquiry. We are prepared to explore the questions around his vision without expecting to agree on the answers. Jesus himself tended to answer a question with a question. We are committed to creating a safe place for this exchange of questions, ideas and inquiries to take place.
For a further conversation on how we understand Jesus as a doorway to a larger quest, and if you haven’t already, go to our website’s “more about us” where you will find five short introductory videos.
PLEASE NOTE: This blog was published in a January 2018 issue of the Picton Gazette