In one of the most documented Creed’s in the Christian tradition, we have a line that says “We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.”
If we begin by taking the word one, what does this one mean? For me, it must mean that the church is Oneness. Unified.
When we take the word Holy. The word Holy means to be set apart. This is where I feel like we have gone wrong, is that we have created “Holy Colonies”. These “Holy Colonies” thus set themselves apart, and, often become violent towards other “colonies”. We establish a very dualistic mind which becomes an us vs them, mindset. When we see clearly, in Jesus, that God is for everyone. The only persons Jesus cuts out, are those who cut others out. In this, we now see how damaging these “Holy Colonies” now become. We see statements like:
You need to believe X,Y,Z to be a Christian. You have to do practice X,Y,Z to be a Christian. And, if you don’t believe these things, and, do these things, you are no longer part of the community.
In the “Holy Colonies” we often find the defenders of Truth. They need to defend doctrine X, Y, Z. In one of the very few things I have learned in this life, I have learned this: Truth, being God, does not need to be defended. Because, God is almighty and all-powerful, he does not need us to defend him. He needs us to defend others. Especially, those who can’t defend themselves. And, if we are not allowed to challenge and doubt, X,Y,Z stated beliefs, then how are we going to be set free by this stated Truth. Truth, is only Truth, as far as its existential value it gives us. That freedom, produces a type of person. A person who looks like radical Love, Peace, Hope and Faith.
Which brings us to Catholic. The original meaning of Catholic, meant universal. So, we as a Church are called to be a Unified, Set Apart, and, Universal Church.
The last word is apostolic. Apostolic means to be sent. This is the importance of missional community, and, missional practice. We exist for the Church, yes, but, we also exist for the world. We don’t have to reform or convert them into our “Holy Colonies”. My fear is, is that when we convert them into our “Holy Colonies”, we become like Pharisees and travel over seas to create sons of Hell, like they did. We exist for the poor, the oppressed, the broken, the needy, the orphans and widows. We are called to heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those with leprosy, and cast out demons. We exist for others.
So here are some questions:
1. How can we participate in oneness, while, there is a clear disjunction of many different sects and denominations in our current faith?
2. How can we keep our own uniqueness individually, while respecting the individuality of the other?
3. How can we eliminate our “Holy Colonies” to maintain our Unified, Holy, Universal Church?
4. What does it mean for a world to exist for the world?