It is more important to Belong than it is to Believe
I’ve recently read Nadia Bolz-Weber’s “Accidental Saints: Finding God in all the wrong people.” Nadia is a tattooed and cursing Lutheran Pastor in Denver, who founded the House for All Sinners and Saints. The birth of this particular community came from the call on Nadia’s ministry to start a church community for the marginalised - a place for people who didn’t “fit in” to mainstream conservative church. Nadia tells the story of a middle aged gay woman, who did not believe in Jesus, but who found “meaning in the belonging” at the House for All Sinners and Saints. This person found purpose in simply belonging to the community. After a number of years of being a part of this inclusive church, the woman had a crisis of faith, and asks for a meeting with Nadia - she was starting to believe in Jesus! Through her experience of belonging to this Christian community, as she was, she eventually came to faith in Jesus. What a beautiful story of transformation. The Christian church, for far too long, has been very good at judging people, telling people who was in and who was out, who was welcome and who was unwelcome, how to behave and how not to behave, what to believe and what not to believe. And if you didn’t conform, you were made to feel guilty, and excluded from the “Holy Communion.” The beautiful truth is that there is no one outside of “Communion” with God - and no church denomination or world religion can change or altar that! Historically the church has been more concerned about being “correct” than about being “connected.” The Good News in Jesus is not judgement, but grace. Jesus calls us to open up to what and who we already are. We are more than our ego personalities. We are more than our moral behaviour. We are more than what we can think or conceive. Our deepest and truest self, our spiritual hearts, are one with the Divine Life. It is the one Life and Love that we all share. It is the place where everyone belongs. The call on the church today is to get better at helping all people belong…as they are and where they are. Belief in who Jesus is will come.