Jenny said, “I am tired of being a Christian Butt,”…”What do you mean by that” [he] asked. “I mean,” She replied without hesitation, “I’m tired of having to always qualify the word Christian when I tell people I’m going to Church. I might as well say I’m radioactive. They get a surprised look on their face and say, “Not you, Jenny. You don’t seem like the Christian type.” So I find myself throwing in more and more “BUTS” all the time: I’m a Christian But…but…but…Why should I have to explain to people, I’m a Christian, BUT I don’t believe Homosexuals are evil…I’m a Christian BUT I believe women are equal to men…BUT I am concerned about poverty…BUT I care about the earth…BUT I don’t think people who believe differently from me will fry in hell for eternity…” Why is it that the word Christian, which should stand for people of extravagant grace and generosity who are abundantly loving, who are associated with acts of courage, justice, and compassion, has become synonymous with Butthead?”[i]
This excerpt is from the introduction to The Phoenix Affirmations written by Eric Elnes. Over the coming weeks we will be in conversation centered on the 12 Phoenix Affirmations. What may surprise most is that Jesus was not a Christian. The word Christian means, to be a follower of Christ and it was the Romans who first called His followers by that name. Jesus said,to love the Lord your God with all your heart all your soul and all your strength and your neighbor as yourself. (Matthew 22: 37-39) He side if you follow these you will not sin. Over the coming weeks we will be discussing what it means to Love God, to love self and to love neighbor. All questions, doubts and concerns are welcome.
Affirmation 1: Walking fully in the path of Jesus, without denying the legitimacy of other paths God may provide humanity; Matthew 11:28-29; John 8:12; John 10:16; Mark 9:40
As Christians, we find spiritual awakening, challenge, growth, and fulfillment in Christ’s birth, life, death, and resurrection. While we have accepted the Path of Jesus as our Path, we do not deny the legitimacy of other paths God may provide humanity. Where possible, we seek lively dialog with those of other faiths for mutual benefit and fellowship.
We affirm that the Path of Jesus is found wherever love of God, neighbor, and self are practiced together. Whether or not the path bears the name of Jesus, such paths bear the identity of Christ.
We confess that we have stepped away from Christ’s Path whenever we have failed to practice love of God, neighbor, and self, or have claimed Christianity is the only way, even as we claim it to be our way.
Join us for the Conversation: Phoenix Rising UCC Wellspring Gathering Wednesday nights 7:00 pm at Dunkin Donuts 15 S. Main Street Haverhill Ma.
1. Eric Elnes, The Phoenix Affirmations: A New Vision for the Future of Christianity, Jossey-Bass, ©2006 introduction