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Learned Student, Honest.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Independent Study: Perspectives of Jesus

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.


  1. Very interesting article. As 4 me i'd rather spend time deciphering the Bible instead of denominations. By the time u figure out stuff 4 each denomination Christ might have come back lol. I go 2 many different types of churches but that doesn't mean I subscribe 2 everything within that denomination. My denomination IS the Bible!

    1. That's true too! I guess if you are grounded in his word and have developed that special relationship with Him, nothing should change no matter where you go.

  2. Sooo... i just decided to do a little research on the different groups and denominations and it turns out that there are so many divisions. I started researching one and ended up looking at tidbits of a bunch. It seems like its good to know as much as possible but my goodness where does it end?! O_o Don't groups and denominations create division? Isn't there only one real truth? Isn't "truth" relative to what God has for your personal life? Somebody help!!!

  3. My parents are I guess I'm Baptist *shrug*

    ....But, I've come to realize that, for me, being part of a denomination does not matter. I love my parents' church but I don't feel as if I get what I need from there. The church consists mostly of elderly individuals. Most of them were born and raised in that church so they are stuck in their ways. In my perspective, they do not do enough to bring more people, especially the younger crowd, to the church. The new Pastor is working very hard to change that, and I think it's working. I think that people are stuck in the "denomination label", partly because their parents parents were raised that way. It's so easy to stick to that tradition especially when you have not allowed yourself to experience other "denominations".

    On that note, I would consider myself non-denominational. I love being able to freely praise and pray to God however I want (depending on what denomination you are, you may have to follow specific rules of what to do/not to do in church). I feel that I have grown spiritually because I have reached out to other places of worships that have encouraged free worship. I think that we sometimes get caught up in the routine of things that we forget the real reason to worship.

    I have to add that I am not downing the Baptist denomination in any way. I enjoyed growing up in that denomination especially in Nigeria. As kids, we didn't know the difference. It was all about going to church with our Bibles and learning lots of memory verses.


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