The Church of God has long been a champion of Christian Unity. The church was founded on the concept that despite minor theological beliefs our greatest testimony to the world is our ability to promote a united front about the things that really matter about Jesus’ message. Namely, God’s grace and Christ’s death and resurrection for our sins. Our sacraments are simple and almost universally accepted. Suffice it to say there is very little controversy when it comes to many of the Church of God’s tenants.
Even here at THRIVE you will find some diversity on minor theological points. For example, some here hold to strict ideas about creation while still others follow a modified or more metaphorical view of the creation story in Genesis. There is plenty of room for debate and acceptance as long as we follow John Wesley’s views and include scripture and our experiences with the faith. It is with that in mind that THRIVE is heading in a new direction theologically.
Wesley has been seen by some modern theologians as somewhat of a rebel in his insistence on focusing on the Kingdom of God and less on issue of doctrine. When asked about salvation and even the validity of other religions he was heard once to remark, “eh, I’m cool with just about anything.” With this inspiring quote in mind we at THRIVE have undertaken our “One Tree, Many Leaves” initiative. As part of this new ministry Pastor James has taken up residence in a local Buddhist monastery while pastors Tim and Dan have converted to Islam and Hinduism, respectively. Pastor David will still continue to preach from the Christian tradition although he will preach the entire Bible as metaphor with no discernible commandments or truths.
On his new preaching method Pastor David said that not only would the creation and things like Noah and the flood be taught as Christian myths but some of the more concrete concepts were up for debate as well. Concepts like “loving your neighbor” will need to be deconstructed. Who exactly is our neighbor? What if we live out in the country? Do we really have to love other people? Can we just like them a lot? When these questions arise there is no doubt that the teaching staff at THRIVE will be able to provide a number of confusing and dangerous alternatives. “We just want people to question everything and not care about the answer” said Pastor James. “We really just want to see people confused and uncertain as much as possible”, he continued.
When asked to comment on the recent change one church-goer, speaking on behalf of their small group, asked, “Will there still be bagels?” The answer to this burning question is, yes, there will still be bagels. Although Pastors James and Dan ask that all potluck meals and small group dinners be kept to strict vegetarian dishes only. While pastor Tim has asked people bringing meals to church functions to keep all dishes preparation to strict Islamic food preparation guidelines; and no pork! We look forward to an utterly confusing and enlightening time over the next few weeks at THRIVE!
Happy April 1st!
JAMES DODSON | SPIRITUAL FORMATION PASTOR