I have recently been reminded that one of the things that allows people to feel at home at First Congregational Church is my insistence that we don’t all have to believe the same thing. More importantly, it is okay to be unsure of what you believe about the Christian faith.
This is a very important principle not only in my ministry but in the approach of the United Church of Christ as a whole.
In the United Church of Christ, we are fond of saying that we don’t have “tests of faith” but rather “testimonies of faith.” That is to say, we believe that God dwells in everyone and does so in different ways. To confine people to one way of believing is to limit both the definition and activity of God in the world.
One of the things I love about our church is that there are people here who have a rock solid faith in God and feel Christ guiding them every day. That said, I equally love that there are people here who aren’t sure what they believe about God or Christ or even if they believe any of the tenants of the Christian faith at all. That both sets of people can worship together and grow together is truly a gift. It is a gift because each person on the spectrum of belief has something to teach the other.
Church should not be a place for only those who feel they have “arrived” in their faith development. It is just as important that the doubters find a home in the pews. In fact, if we’re honest, we all have some measure of doubt when it comes to religion. At least, I think, we should.
To accept wholesale what the church has always taught allows no room for the Holy Spirit to move in one’s life. To feel that you are “less than” because you’re not so sure about who Jesus was is to deny the church valuable fuel for growth that comes from your questioning.
At First Congregational Church we take the language of the Christian faith to talk about the transcendent; that which is beyond ourselves. We take the bible and our heritage as building blocks to discover something new. No one has all of the answers. In fact, I am more and more convinced that it isn’t about answers at all. It is about asking deeper questions by means of the community of searchers who gather here.
That’s why I’m so grateful that you are a part of our church; no matter what you believe or don’t believe.
See you in church,