United Church – Beliefs (A Harsh Critique)

1. The Bible: As a source of wisdom, personal prayer, and devotion, we believe the Bible can bring us closer to God…one of our best ways of experiencing God’s continuing work of creation and liberation in the world, while offering us forgiveness, healing, and new life in Jesus. We often refer to a passage as “the Word of God.” By this we mean the writer was inspired by God.

**I really can’t say too much about this – actually I agree.

2. Sacraments: A sacrament is a symbolic action, or ritual, by which people of faith encounter the presence and goodness of God. In a sacrament, ordinary things like water, bread, and wine are used to point us to God and God’s love, reminding us of the sacred in life.

**I slightly disagree – only to say that ‘the presence’ and a ‘reminder’ are 2 different things.

3. Baptism: Baptism is a symbolic action that signifies the new life God gives us as we join the church community. Baptism uses water as a symbolic cleansing that signifies the acceptance of new life within the church family. The sacrament of baptism is the single rite of initiation into the Christian community, the church.

**I also agree with the theology here – the symbolism of it. It is used an acceptance ritual – of which most churches are up front about. They do also admit to the baptism of kids and that no baptism in no way assures someone condemnation. The kids thing I am not sure about (but I have very little qualms with it either) and I like their stand on the issue.

4. Communion: A symbolic meal. Communion is celebrated at a table that suggests the dining table in our homes. At the communion table, we acknowledge that Jesus Christ is the host and all are guests.

**I like the inclusion of the meal and that they can recognize it’s symbolism in the event. They acknowledge Jesus in this process and it leaves me little room for any serious issues.

5. Inclusiveness: Jesus welcomed everyone, whether they were poor, rich, or just getting by; ill or healthy; self-made or educated; popular or a loner; secure or full of doubts. The United Church of Canada prides itself on welcoming everyone the way Jesus did, regardless of age, race, class, gender, orientation, or physical ability.

**Ha ha…oh man…for a second I thought they were serious when they said this. What I find totally odd about this church making this statement is they still have not taken full responsibility for their crimes against Aboriginal people in Canada and just recently booted out a United minister (Kevin Annett) for his stand on looking into the issue (actually persecuted him over it). They treat gay people as equals but have very little room for the Aboriginal contingent within Canada. I mention this in a previous blog.

6. Children: The church works hard to appreciate people of all ages, from grandparents to newborns.

**Cool – sounds awesome to me!

7. Marriage: We see people as unique, loved creations of God. We also see relationships as living things that require preparation and nurture. The United Church marries: previously divorced people & couples of different religions. We believe God intends loving relationships to be faithful, responsible, just, healing, and sustaining of the couple and those around them. These relationships may be between a woman and a man, or between people of the same gender.

**I could really care less what a church does on this issue – since I am under the current belief that no institution has the official right to either sanctify or grant the rights of something that has always existed – irregardless of said institution. So who cares.

8. Multi-Faith Relations: The United Church of Canada views the religious practice of all people of goodwill with respect and gratitude. We believe the Spirit of God is at work in many different faith communities. For Christians, Jesus is the way we know God. Our understanding is nonetheless limited by human imagination. God is greater still and works in our world by a mysterious Spirit that knows no distinction at the doorway of a Christian chapel; Buddhist, Hindu, or Sikh temple; Aboriginal sweat lodge, Muslim mosque, or Jewish synagogue.

**I like the inclusion aspect of this belief but it fails to represent true honesty – what if those other faith systems have serious holes in them? Do we address that? Do they address that? I am all for all of us working together – but I am also game for the fact each religion has it’s own problems to work out also.

9. Social Justice: Caring for one another was central to Jesus’ teachings: Feed the hungry, satisfy the thirsty, shelter the homeless, clothe the naked, care for the sick, visit those in prison. To this end, we cooperate with other churches, faith traditions, and people of goodwill to eliminate poverty and protect those who are most vulnerable. Throughout Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean, the United Church works with 143 churches and organizations we call partners by supporting work they see as vital to their well-being.

**I like their theology on this issue and agree 100% – but this church is hypocritical. Look at all the wonderful work they do in 143 other countries meanwhile back in Canada – they have never had a single member of their residential school system pay for the crimes they committed in God’s name upon Aboriginal people. These people are even so audacious to say they support Aboriginal people’. When in fact they are trying to cover-up the past abuses they visited upon Aboriginal people – including rape, murder, torture, cultural extermination, etc (no one has been tried and convicted).

Kevin Annett brough this up to them – he was fired, excommunicated, had his divorce paid for, and was stalled at every measure by this church when he simply looked for ‘justice‘ concerning the United Church’s past (all this in the mid 1990’s – based on crimes ranging from the 1910’s – 60’s). Is this a church that sounds like it follows Christ or it’s own institution now? Either way – I will boycott them until they come clean on the whole issue and quit trying to ‘save face’ for the sake of membership.

What did Paul say once ‘I have decided to deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of his flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough? Clean out the old leaven so that you may be a new lump, just as you are in fact unleavened. For Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed.’ (I cor 5:5-7). Even this church cannot out-run the very bible and passover they so dearly commend in their faith statement. So I commend their church for destruction/cleaning until they can become ‘even again’ – and this for the fairness Jesus taught within his teachings – the same teachings (and people) he died for! Now…get me some justice!