There is a website called ie:missional that within its own understood context has plenty of good observations to offer. However, we must take care to define our terms before we mislead or are misled.
The site is decidedly against denominationalism. Well, it is right to be against what it suggests constitutes denominationalism, but is it failing to differentiate enough?
A denomination is a group with a name. Christianity is a denomination. In the sense the term "denomination" is used today, Christianity started out as a denomination of the Jews. There's nothing wrong with viewing it that way as long as we don't lose sight of the full range of connotations of the term "denomination."
The truth be told, Christianity is the real Judaism in that Judah himself were he here today, would gladly and openly accept the teachings and life example of Jesus, Judah's flesh offspring but spiritual forbearer (if you will accept it, as Jesus would put it).
Now, the name of this Church is the Real Liberal Christian Church; however, I've made clear that each of the words in that string of words is completely redundant. To be real is to be liberal is to be Christian is to be the Church. The order can be rearranged any way you want, and it would still mean exactly the same thing. All of this is supported in scripture.
The fact is that the only reason I was given to apply this "name" was for the sake of making this very point.
There is only one Church. There is only one "real" reality. It's God. Within the language of the revelation of Jesus Christ, all that is not perfectly good is false and unreal. It's semantics of course. There's nothing wrong with that though.
Jesus understood semantics better than anyone I've ever come across. It's why they could never trap him. His understanding was, and still is, and always will be, just too great for any detractor to defeat. In fact, all detractors have lost before they even start.
Now, the thrust of the site, ie:missional, concerns the bureaucratic structure of what are considered in the current mainstream as the major American denominations. The point is very valid. That's why the RLCC (Real Liberal Christian Church) is conceived as being both centralized and grassroots at the same time. This is the mirror image of Heaven and God as being centered and focus while being everywhere at the same time in both relative and absolute terms.
It's a great deal to comprehend, but it is comprehendible. One simply needs to dispense with the kind of thinking that can't accept wave-particle duality for instance. Wave particles serve to explain and predict. It's a wave when the scientists don't try to see it naked. It's a particle if scientists try to spy on it. It is conscious of their intentions on some level. What is conscious on such a level? What has sense perception beyond all senses identified by science? Is that same sensory perception at work between members of a swarm of birds or a school of fish? When the scientist attempt to discern and describe and predict functions, do they perceive the ultimate? Hardly.
It's the way though that we go about understanding that the Sun will come up each morning, even though one day it won't, unless there is some as of yet unknown event to alter the mundane cause and effect under which most humans spend their time and thoughts. In the revelation, we understand that to be when the New Heaven and New Earth conflate.
Well, the point is that we use names to relate concepts and to effectuate change. Jesus is a name. The name of God is God or YHVH or Yahveh or how every God is spoken in the various languages and dialects of the world. What is the concept associated in each person's mind with the name? What feelings are there?
We cannot do away with names. We can only better understand. Have the Southern Baptists ever been exactly right? No, they have never been exactly right. They cannot go back to something while they were named Southern Baptist to recapture what was right. They must change their conceptual understanding. They must become real. God and Jesus are real.
They must come to understand what the original meaning of liberal was and that what is being passed off as liberal just isn't. Real liberalism is harmless. It is purely beneficent. However, we know that there are many people running about claiming to be liberal or progressive or leftists or what have you who are advocating harm. They do it under the guise of individual social-unrestraint.
Well, real Christians aren't coercive but they don't shy away from speaking truth about what leads away from righteousness and goodness and perfection that is God.
The license that is passed out to behave iniquitously (harmfully: violently, greedily, depravedly) is issued by the spirit that is short of Godly. It is the utterly dark spirit for not being the perfectly light spirit. We call that spirit "Satan." There are many other names for it though, just as there are many names for God. It's conceptual.
As you will discern, the license is handed out to many who call themselves "conservatives" as well. Many self-styled conservatives are war-mongers after all. Many of them even dare to call themselves Christians.
This doesn't mean God isn't alive apart from the human flesh mind. God is more alive than we are on this plane of existence. We only become more alive and finally completely alive (really alive) as we approach God in earnest.
We need organization, order, and law, but those things are to flow naturally from our hearts, as our emotional base is the full understanding of the New Commandment (law). We need to bring forth. We are commanded, moved, challenged, compelled, etc., to do it.
It is the old system that has held back bringing forth. No one is hungry in the Kingdom. If the Kingdom is within us, and it is supposed to be, and if we are to bring forth the good things from the goodness that is within our hearts, and we are supposed to do that, per Jesus, then together we are to see to it that there are no hungry people. We are to cooperate to bring forth free food for all God's children, as it is in Heaven.
How can anyone calling himself or herself Christian not agree with that? How can Christians not help to bring forth the Commons where Christians will raise food for all? The Earth can be a wholly fruitful garden.
We must deserve it even though we are forgiven our sins.
The following should appear at the end of every post:
According to the IRS, "Know the law: Avoid political campaign intervention":
Tax-exempt section 501(c)(3) organizations like churches, universities, and hospitals must follow the law regarding political campaigns. Unfortunately, some don't know the law.
Under the Internal Revenue Code, all section 501(c)(3) organizations are prohibited from participating in any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office. The prohibition applies to campaigns at the federal, state and local level.
Violation of this prohibition may result in denial or revocation of tax-exempt status and the imposition of certain excise taxes. Section 501(c)(3) private foundations are subject to additional restrictions.
Political Campaign Intervention
Political campaign intervention includes any activities that favor or oppose one or more candidates for public office. The prohibition extends beyond candidate endorsements.
Contributions to political campaign funds, public statements of support or opposition (verbal or written) made by or on behalf of an organization, and the distribution of materials prepared by others that support or oppose any candidate for public office all violate the prohibition on political campaign intervention.
Factors in determining whether a communication results in political campaign intervention include the following:
- Whether the statement identifies one or more candidates for a given public office
- Whether the statement expresses approval or disapproval of one or more candidates' positions and/or actions
- Whether the statement is delivered close in time to the election
- Whether the statement makes reference to voting or an election
- Whether the issue addressed distinguishes candidates for a given office
Many religious organizations believe, as we do, that the above constitutes a violation of the First Amendment of the US Constitution.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
That said, we make the following absolutely clear here:
- The Real Liberal Christian Church and Christian Commons Project not only do not endorse any candidate for any secular office, we say that Christianity forbids voting in such elections.
- Furthermore, when we discuss any public-office holder's position, policy, action or inaction, we definitely are not encouraging anyone to vote for that office holder's position.
- We are not trying to influence secular elections but rather want people to come out from that entire fallen system.
- When we analyze or discuss what is termed "public policy," we do it entirely from a theological standpoint with an eye to educating professing Christians and those to whom we are openly always proselytizing to convert to authentic Christianity.
- It is impossible for us to fully evangelize and proselytize without directly discussing the pros and cons of public policy and the positions of secular-office holders, hence the unconstitutionality of the IRS code on the matter.
- We are not rich and wouldn't be looking for a fight regardless. What we cannot do is compromise our faith (which seeks to harm nobody, quite the contrary).
- We render unto Caesar what is Caesar's. We render unto God what is God's.
- When Caesar says to us that unless we shut up about the unrighteousness of Caesar's policies and practices, we will lose the ability of people who donate to us to declare their donations as deductions on their federal and state income-tax returns, we say to Caesar that we cannot shut up while exercising our religion in a very reasonable way.
- We consider the IRS code on this matter as deliberate economic duress (a form of coercion) and a direct attempt by the federal government to censor dissenting, free political and religious speech.
- It's not freedom of religion if they tax it.
And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received tribute money came to Peter, and said, Doth not your master pay tribute? He saith, Yes. And when he was come into the house, Jesus prevented him, saying, What thinkest thou, Simon? of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? of their own children, or of strangers? Peter saith unto him, Of strangers. Jesus saith unto him, Then are the children free. (Matthew 17:24-26)