Thursday, June 10, 2004

Thick with irony
I came across a business card for the pastor of the First Christian Church, part of the ecclesial community known as the Disciples of Christ. On the back of the card was a statement that made me howl with laughter, so thick with irony was it. It reads in part:

This mainline Protestant denomination centers faith not in a creed but in Christ, allowing plenty of room for differing personal beliefs."

Well, there is at least honesty to their credit. The negative formation "not in a creed" is certainly true to the character of being one who protests. Now considering the origin of the word "disciple", its link to being a follower, adhering to and spreading the teachings of another, and the derivative word "discipline", what can it possibly mean to claim to be a disciple while at the same time not having a common system of beliefs. For, ultimately, that's what "allowing plenty of room for differing personal beliefs" means. How can one be a disciple when there is no discipline?

And the final point I want to make: Though the business card pretends to center faith in Christ without creeds, isn't the brief statement precisely that? A creed? And still more, how can one have a belief about someone or something without at the same time having a statement about one's belief? I mean, to take a mundane example, I believe bologna is evil. So, with such belief, I must necessarily make a statement when presented with the idea of eating bologna: No to bolgona; yes to real meat. Hhhmmm. Bologna. The irony is thicker still!

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