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Tuesday, Sep. 29, 2009
At most ecumenical meetings like this, we quickly get "labeled."
"What country are you from, which denomination or communion are you with, what's your title or degree, what did you study?"
The labels are complicated. On the one hand, it's helpful to know where people are from, or what church they belong to. On the other hand, none of these answers is simple.
"I'm from the United States (really Oregon, which is different from Texas or California or New York). I'm Presbyerian (but Presbyterian Church USA, which is not the same as Cumberland Presbyterian or Presbyterian Church in America). I'm Reverend (but I'm also Ms., and daughter and granddaughter and sister and friend)..."
In ecumenical settings, we're all trying to represent our traditions and bring them to the conversation, but we're also just individual people who've encountered God through a particular Christian lens, particular congregations, pastors or priests, cultures and contexts, life experiences. We bring all that and more to these meetings, each person with a story to tell.
So, when we're trying to work through historic divisions, which labels matter, and which ones don't? Which ones get us closer to finding unity as the body of Christ, and which ones keep our divisions front and center? Which ones honor the richness of our traditions, and which ones need to be put to rest?
Posted by Aimee Moiso