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The new glory days: Why I belong to the United Church of Christ

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FLI_092612_gaymarriageIt is probably an understatement to say that these are not the “glory days” of any denomination — Lutherans, Methodists, Presbyterians or the United Church of Christ.

Our halcyon days are over and now it is the era of the “free church”, unfettered by bureaucracy, by denominational hierarchies, by old stuffy ways and old stuffy white guys (and gals).  The vibrant young megachurches, house churches and neighborhood churches seem to get along just fine without the creeds or catechisms, the codes of conduct, the rules and regulations that bog down those old fashioned “mainline Protestants.”

Until…something like this happens.

The state of North Carolina restricted the free practice of religion and my little denomination, the United Church of Christ, just 1 million members or so, stood up to fight for the Constitution of the United States.

They stood up to fight for the separation of church and state that our founders so carefully crafted into our government.

They stood up for the freedom of churches to be free, for pastors to preach without fear, and marry whom they will without the threat of going to jail.

I realize again why I belong to the United Church of Christ.  Why I chose to join it on a Sunday in October of 1990.

I am stronger with others. We are wiser, braver, more caring and more courageous together. I can’t be the Body of Christ on my own.

When all 1 million (or so) of my church members stand up with the pastors of North Carolina we make a difference.

That is why I belong!

That’s why I still belong to the United Church of Christ, even if the “glory days” of big churches and big membership seem to be over. The glory of standing for the right, of fighting for justice, and of standing for the freedom that America stands for – that glory never ends. That work never ends. And we can only do it together.

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About Andy CastroLang

Andy CastroLang is senior pastor at Westminster Congregational United Church of Christ. She is deeply committed to civil discourse between individuals and throughout our community; in interreligious conversation, private conversation, intergenerational conversation and yes, even in political conversation. She has been a supporter of SpokaneFaVS since its inception because she supports this creative effort at thoughtful community conversation.

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9 comments

  1. It appears you are proud that your church denomination has stood in favor of homosexual “marriage” even though the bible is clearly against it. I suppose club membership outranks the bible?

    • Exactly. Every “church” that supports homosexuality/homosexual marriage needs to be demanded to:
      1) stop using the Bible
      2) stop regarding its self as a church
      3) apologize to the public for misleading them to thinking that the Bible supports sin, much less a sin-consequence.

      • OK, which “churches” would you include in this list? Which ones are preaching heresy? What is your definition of a “church”?
        I think its quite dangerous for any human to make decisions about which church is the “true Church.”
        Jesus had many angry words for those who tried to be the gatekeepers of heaven. Read John 9 and 10; here Jesus speaks out against the Pharisees who called Jesus himself a sinner and who refused to accept the story of the man blind from birth. They called him a liar. In John 10, Jesus says that Jesus is the gate of the sheepfold and no one else.

      • God’s work in granting marriage for all who wish it is a mark of God’s continuing work to redeem our fallen world.

        I think your three requirements should be wielded against all faith communities who fly the flag, allow military personnel to recruit on their grounds, and bless capitalistic ambition with language about “freedom.”

        Other marks of a true church include acts of mercy, celebrating the Lord’s supper, sharing with the poor and sick, washing feet, and singing. No one body will live up to the calling. As Andy said, we need each other.

  2. I am proud to be a UCC minister, and I am proud to be an American. I stand in support of the First Amendment, and I think any good Christian American would agree that North Carolina has overstepped its bounds by trying to silence the right to Free Speech among the clergy.
    What if this was your church they were trying to silence? What if some state or the federal government decides that your church is “wrong” and starts putting your ministers in jail for preaching the gospel as you understand it?
    The UCC is standing up for all Christians in this fight, and I fully support them.

  3. I guess, the problem with the logic I see in pursuing the ‘it’s my freedom of speech/religion’ angle is that it doesn’t have any boundaries. How would you determine how government should legislate right or wrong? What principles bring clarity to the issue and don’t just throw open the door to anyone claiming ‘this or that’ is my religious freedom? I guess, I just don’t see how that guideline prohibits anything?

  4. I guess they just choose to ignore Leviticus 18:22, Genesis chapter 19 (especially verses 5 and 24), Romans 1:26-27 and all the other scriptures that plainly state that homosexual relations are a sin. The UCC seems to condone homosexual “marriage.” Therefore the UCC is a only “church” according to the laws of the state (state and national governments.) It is apostate according to biblical standards.

  5. Mat 13:27    “The slaves of the landowner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?’
    Mat 13:28    “And he said to them, ‘An enemy has done this!’ The slaves *said to him, ‘Do you want us, then, to go and gather them up?’
    Mat 13:29    “But he *said, ‘No; for while you are gathering up the tares, you may uproot the wheat with them.
    Mat 13:30    ‘Allow both to grow together until the harvest; and in the time of the harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather up the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them up; but gather the wheat into my barn.”‘”
    Jesus said to let all churches grow together, at the right time He won’t have any trouble yanking out the tares. If you are faithful to the Word, keep the faith! I believe He is coming soon!

  6. Estoy orgillosa de pertenecer a una iglesia Que deje el YO para preocuparse por el otro, el Amor de Dios se manifiesta cuando yo puedo amar al otro y preocuparme por el otro como si lo tuviera para mi.
    Dios nos mando a see UN iglesia dense celebar la vida y no para see UN juzgado donde darle sentancia a la humanidad. Si asi fuera nadie podriamos ser llamados al evangelio.
    Nuestro ADN no cambia nunca, somos una igleaia de inclusion de cambios y retos Que evolucionan pero por medio de los cuales Dios sigue hablando!!

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