If I enroll in an institution seeking another degree, I believe it would be in theology. I say seeking a degree to distinguish from casual extra learning – like an accounting class here or a music class there – which I eventually plan to take, among others.
Lately, for almost two years now, I have been mesmerized by the various traditions, denominations, and sects of Christianity. My research thus far wholly consists of primary research. This means if I ask you several questions about your church, do not take offense, friends, I really just want to know! I but I think an actual experience trumps what I”ll read online although I might cross-check a few things with a credible site
For example, I recall a recent conversation with a friend and an African American lady we just met at a Whirlyball event for a huge church called Calvary Church of Naperville. In her attempt to describe the denomination and church practices she says: “are you familiar with the Church of God in Christ? My friend was, I was not, or so I thought. “Well, it’s just like that, except it’s white people.”
I’m thinking: Oooh “Cogic!” Okay we’re getting warmer, I’ve driven passed C.O.G.I.C. parishes in the south but other than that I haven’t the slightest clue. So I thought correctly, I’m not familiar, just as (un)familiar as the several other churches I’ve driven by at times wondering how things go on the inside of that church or amongst that group of worshipers.
Well yesterday at the Trinity United Church of Christ, this teacher-pastor, Reverend Otis Moss III, broke so many things down with clarity, in such a short time, for me (and everyone else of course but I was definitely a target for that message) and I was taking copious notes.
He began with the allegation (or fact – depending on your experience with other Christians) that “the actual practice of Christianity today, has little to with Christ.” Many of the 30-and-under crowd claim there is a disconnection between the Jesus of love and those that are representing Him, daily, here and now.
Then, he transitioned into the admonition that membership of a church or denomination does not equate to having a relationship with Christ. A denomination is history, practices and rituals. And every denomination has a different perspective of Jesus. Nonetheless, your denomination does not lead you to Christ.
Following his Bird’s eye exhortation of several denominations, such as the evangelicals and traditions, such as Pentecostal (note: it’s not a denomination – popular misconception) he moved on to the 4 portraits of Jesus from the Gospels.
I’m really motivated to step up this independent study! I’m not too sure what the plans are for my findings in the long run, possibly sharing with others somehow. For now, I want satisfaction in knowing the history of my tradition/denomination/group and deciphering between the intended practice and beliefs and what’s been added along the way and for what reasons.
We should all know the history behind our respective churches and why we choose to worship there, besides the obvious – which may not even be so obvious.
I implore you to seek this knowledge for yourself too. Learning how various groups, especially your own “group,” perceives the Man, Christ Jesus, also strengthens your perspective of Brother Jesus.