The Religious Practice of the New Church

What is your religious practice?  For many of us, we employ formalized church answers … Sunday worship, prayer, alms, participation in rituals/ sacraments.  They are typical answers because there is life and grace there.  And there are other atypical answers to round out the concept of practice.   Such answers grow from the position that “a religion is valued for its goodwill and faith, not for the rituals that accompany them.”  (True Christianity, 660)

Practice as seeking value in goodwill and faith.   Goodwill meaning loving kindness.  Faith meaning trust.  So we are then to practice holding loving kindness and trust as more defining of church than ritual.

“The new church unites faith in the Lord with goodwill toward our neighbor as two things that are inseparable; this is the nature of its religious practice,” (True Christianity, 647)

Not that that practice is easy!  But that practice pulls us away from the more shallow definitions of religion-as-ritual, definitions that feed “worship wars” and endless confrontations around the “hot button” issue of the day like homosexuality.  We find it easier, I fear, to bring enraged indignation to human sexuality than we do to birth loving kindness and trust into a world so sorely in need of both.  I don’t see that as saying that choices around sexuality are unimportant.  I do see it as saying, approach those questions with loving kindness and trust.

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